Almost everything on X Electrical Vehicle’s model is 3D printed; its maker says it's a preview of the future

The world’s first 3D printed car looks set to make production next year – and its maker believes it previews an “inevitable” change that’ll affect the whole industry.

Produced by Chinese company Polymaker and Italy-based vehicle manufacturer X Electrical Vehicle (XEV), the Smart-sized LSEV is almost entirely made using 3D printing technology, which creates parts from the ground up, layer by layer.

Only a few components, such as the chassis, glass windscreen and tyres, are made using conventional methods. This means that, like most 3D printed products, waste material produced from the production of the vehicle is drastically reduced – something that Polymaker boss Xiaofan Luo said will “inspire more [car] companies to adopt 3D printing”.

3D printing has also enabled Polymaker to reduce the number of plastic parts in the car from 2000 (using conventional built methods) to just 57 – a vital improvement that could help to significantly reduce the environmental impact of car production.

A prototype for the LSEV demonstrates the performance it can offer. The prototype is claimed to be capable of a 93-mile range and can do 43mph. It weighs 450kg – close to half that of a Smart Fortwo.

The LSEV is on display at Shanghai’s China 3D-printing Culture Museum. It will be shown at the Beijing motor show next month.

It took three days to build the prototype and XEV expects production to eventually total around 500 units per year on a single production line. When sales open sometime in late 2019, likely to be in China first, prices are estimated to start at about £7100.

Luo believes that the LSEV will soon be followed by more 3D printed cars. He said that: “The availability of more functional high-performance materials will enable 3D printing to be used on many more applications.” He described 3D printing production as “an inevitable trend in the [car] industry”.

Established manufacturers have recently begun to use 3D printing for component production. Mini offers 3D printed trim that can be completely customised, while Bugatti has developed a 3D printed brake caliper that it claims is 2kg lighter but tougher than the previous part.

More content:

Aston Martin Vantage 2018 first drive

BMW i3 review

Our Verdict

Seat Ibiza

A model upon which Seat has staked its future, the new Ibiza must now deliver in an extremely competitive market. So can the supermini upset the likes of Ford, Mini, Mazda, Nissan and others?

Join the debate

Comments
5

TS7

21 March 2018

...a 3-D printed car doesn't have to look as bad as this.

22 March 2018

they won't need humans at all. Everyone can stay in, watch TV and get fat on eat dial-out pizza.

21 March 2018

"Only a few components, such as the chassis, glass windscreen and tyres," wow how do print an electric motor, a batttery, wiring loom, airbags etc

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

22 March 2018
Again Autocar are just publishing a very bad press release. I work in automotive production. 3D printing has an interesting future but still can't do electronics, motors, brakes etc. So when they say 'except chassis' I think they mean nearly all of the car!

 

 

 

22 March 2018

Well, is it ok, I assume the next thing will be independent crash testing......, nothing wrong with how it looks, it’s transport, city transport.

Peter Cavellini.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S road test review hero front
    Car review
    22 June 2018
    Is AMG's rapid GLC 63 SUV the answer to your prayers, or to a question nobody’s asking?
  • Dacia Duster 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    It's still not as refined as other SUVs, but in terms of sheer value the second-generation Duster is very much in a class of its own
  • Ford Ka+ Active 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    This SUV-inspired makeover for Ford’s city-friendly small car will find its fans, but the Ka+ Active doesn’t set any new benchmarks for the class
  • Suzuki Swift Sport 2018 long-term review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    The Japanese hot hatch is all grown up in terms of character, technology and price, but is it still a fun-loving kid at heart? Let’s find out
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Shogun Sport 4
    First Drive
    21 June 2018
    Shogun Sport name returns to the UK, attached to a seven-seat 4x4 that, Mitsubishi hopes, deftly combines practicality, comfort and toughness