Written by Graham Cutbill-White
The ever-expanding limits of 3D printing have gone a step further this week after start-up company XEV Limited revealed the world’s first 3D printed electric car.
The record-breaking vehicle, known as the LSEV, is expected to both revolutionize the electric car market and redefine the way in which cars are built.
It’s expected to arrive in Asia and Europe by the end of 2019 and currently has a price tag of just £7,500.
The LSEV prototype currently stacks up at around 98 inches long, 51 inches wide, and 59 inches high, around 8 inches shorter than a standard two-seater Smart car.
Its tiny frame means that it’s not likely to win many drag races, even in the electric car category. With a reported top speed of 43mph and a fully charged range of 93 miles, it’s fair to say that the LSEV is not built for marathons nor sprints.
That being said, it takes just three days to print and build with most of the parts taking no more than 6 hours to create.
Made up of only 57 component parts, compared to 2,000 plus parts that a conventionally manufactured vehicle has, the LSEV is all 3D printed except for the chassis, seats, and glass components.
The brains behind the LSEV, X Electrical Vehicle Limited (XEV) and their partners, the 3D printing materials company Polymaker believe that the car will change the way cars are built and even sold.
It’s been described by Polymaker’s CEO Luo Xiaofan as the first ‘real’ mass produced 3D-printed project.
“By saying real, I mean there are also lots of other companies using 3D printing for production. But nothing can really compare with the LSEV in terms of the size, the scale, and the intensity.”
It’s been reported that by using 3D printing during the manufacturing process could reduce costs by as much as 90 percent, and drastically improve the production time.
As well as cutting time and money during production, by printing the majority of the components, the LSEV will approach things differently when it comes to selling the car.
It’s believed that XEV will go to market with a Customer-to-Manufacturer manufacturing process. This means that customers won’t have to go to a dealership or showroom to purchase the car, instead, they’ll simply contact the factory to order the car.
With one prototype built already, Polymaker and XEV believe that they will have another six cars available by the end of July.
The first round of deliveries is expected in April 2017 with 7,000 orders already placed.
If everything goes to plan with that, further drivers and 3D printing enthusiasts can expect to get their hands on one by the end of 2019 with as many 20,000 models set to be available.