While there's already at least one company producing relatively small numbers of 3D-printed cars, the LSEV is touted as being "the first mass-producible 3D-printed electric car in the world." Expected to enter production in the second quarter of 2019, the vehicle was recently unveiled at a press conference held at the China 3D-Printing Cultural Museum in Shanghai.
The LSEV is the result of a partnership between Chinese 3D printing company Polymaker and Italian electric car manufacturer XEV.
According to Polymaker, all visible parts of the car except the chassis, seats and glass are 3D-printed. Taking this approach reportedly allowed the total number of separate parts to be reduced from a typical 2,000 to only 57 – that presumably doesn't include things like the drivetrain. It also made possible a claimed complete vehicle weight of just 450 kg (992 lb).
Another advantage of 3D printing is that it drastically accelerated the research and development process, allowing XEV to complete new designs in just three to 12 months – Polymaker states that the R&D process for a similar conventionally-manufactured car takes more like three to five years.
Even though production has yet to begin, XEV is said to have already received 7,000 European orders for the LSEV – 5,000 from Italian postal services provider Poste Italiane, and 2,000 from vehicle leasing company ARVAL.
"XEV is the first real mass production project using 3D printing," says Polymaker CEO Dr. Luo Xiaofan. "By saying real, I mean there are also lots of other companies using 3D printing for production. But nothing can really compare with XEV in terms of the size, the scale, and the intensity."
We've reached out to Polymaker for more details on the vehicle, and are still waiting to hear back. In a recent report from CNBC, however, it was stated that the car will be priced at approximately US$7,500, have a top speed of about 43 mph (69 km/h), and a battery range of 93 miles (150 km) per charge.
UPDATE (Mar. 26/18): Polymaker has gotten back to us, and states that the LSEV will be priced at €8,000 (about US$9,936).
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