Tuesday, May 29, 2018 by David Williams
Would you ride in or drive a 3D-printed electric car? Chinese citizens may have the option to do so fairly soon, as two firms have teamed up to deliver such a vehicle called the LSEV, which is expected to cost below $10,000. Based on online reports, its development is going along rather smoothly, and it could start hitting the road sometime in 2019.
The LSEV is a product of a collaboration between a Shanghai-based 3D-printing materials company called Polymaker and X Electrical Vehicle Limited (XEV), which has a design studio in Italy but handles all manufacturing-related tasks for their operations in China. It is said that it will have a maximum speed of just 70 kilometers per hour as well as a range of about 150 kilometers, making it perfect for inner-city commutes.
It’s a small, lightweight car that can be produced rather quickly, and it has the potential to be a hit with the average consumer. Although it’s going to be targeted towards users in China first, it is meant to be a global product.
According to Luo Xiaofan, the CEO and co-founder of Polymaker, the LSEV is the first “real” mass-produced 3D-printed vehicle. “By saying real, I mean there are also lots of other companies using 3D printing for production,” he explained. “But nothing can really compare with the LSEV in terms of the size, the scale, and the intensity.”
Officially, the LSEV measures about 98 inches long, 51 inches wide, and 59 inches high. Its weight is pegged at 992 pounds. It’s not quite as light as the average motorcycle, but it’s not that heavy. This is because almost all of its visible parts are 3D-printed, except for the windows, tires, and chassis. With the current 3D-printing method used for its creation, it takes about three days to be fully assembled.
According to Guo Xiaozheng, a senior designer at XEV, there’s a reason they are marketing the LSEV towards users in China first. “China is the biggest market for our cars,” he said in a statement issued to the South China Morning Post. “Talks with several mainland industrial zones to set up production lines are not at a late stage.”
Guo also revealed that he created the company XEV with help from a handful of Chinese auto industry professionals and that it was started less than a year ago. As of this time’s writing, Beijing already has plans to introduce new rules governing low-speed electric cars, and that these could be rolled out within the year. (Related: Self-driving vehicles without human drivers now allowed in California.)
Another thing Guo revealed is their long-term strategy for the LSEV. “We will target both the business and customer markets,” he said. “Production costs can be slashed further as volume increases and by 2024, the total costs for our cars will be cut by half.”
What’s interesting about the LSEV beyond all of the consumer benefits is the fact that its production seems to be rather simple as well. Guo said that just one production line – filled with 3D printers and assembly facilities – will be capable of building 500 such cars per year. And the production lines are easy to set up and are not expensive, according to Guo. This can only help to speed up its adoption.
People might not be eagerly awaiting it now, but the LSEV has all the makings of a successful product. If its release can be executed properly, then it could play a huge role in the future of personal transportation.
Check out more examples of new technology in Inventions.news.