Experts predict that electric, autonomous, 3D-printed cars that are safer, more environmentally friendly and customizable are destined for our roads. The new LSEV boasts two of these “essential” features – it’s not autonomous, but it is electric and most of its parts are 3D printed. The two-seater car from Italian manufacturer XEV has all of its visible parts 3D printed except for the chassis, seats and glass. The car was developed in collaboration with Polymaker, which was responsible for the R&D of the material used to 3D print the LSEV. Using 3D printing enabled the manufacturers to reduce the number of parts in the car from over 2,000 to only 57, while research and development time was shortened by over 60%. Investment costs were also reduced by more than 70% in comparison to a traditionally manufactured vehicle.
“The research and development process of a car model conventionally takes between 3 to 5 years, but 3D-printed cars like XEV only take between 3 months to 12 months,” said Luo Xiaofan, Founder and CEO of Polymaker. The LSEV is also much lighter than conventionally manufactured cars of its size – about 450 kilograms as opposed to a ton or more. Unlike other 3D-printed cars, the LSEV will be mass-produced. Already, the car has received over 7,000 pre-orders, including from the Italian National Post Service and car rental company ARVAL. The Post Service will use tit as a “last mile” delivery vehicle. The reduced number of seats leaves more room for storage, and the high position of the driver’s seat makes it easy to get in and out of the car. XEV plans to make a small production run at the end of this year, with the LSEV available by April of 2019. Eventually, the company wants to offer customers several customization options as well as regular improvements based on driver feedback. Even 3D printed cars with conventional fuel are more eco-friendly and economical – as their light weight greatly reduces the amount of fuel required to power them, while at the same time reducing emissions. The LSEV debuted in China at the China 3D Printing Cultural Museum, which was opened last June in Shanghai’s Baoshan District. The educational, research and cultural facility consists of nine sections including a 3D-printing research centre, an additive library and an innovation library.