Electric cars are a big talking point in the car world right now, and soon they’ll be joined by another futuristic vehicle. The first 3D printed car is going into production in 2019, courtesy of Chinese company Polymaker and Italy-based manufacturer X Electrical Vehicle (XEV). The LSEV has almost been entirely constructed using 3D printing technology, being generated from the ground up, layer by layer.
The chassis, glass windscreen and tyres have been made using traditional methods. The 3D technology has allowed Polymaker to reduce the number of waste material for the car, lowering the plastic count from 2000 to 57. This has clear benefits for the environment, helping to lower the risk of pollution. Polymaker CEO Xiaofan Luo said that it will “inspire more car companies to adopt 3D printing. The availability of more functional high-performance materials will enable 3D printing to be used on many more applications.”
It took three days to build the prototype, which is reported to weigh 450 kg and capable of a 93-mile range. The LSEV is expected to shift around 500 units per year only a single production line, with sales starting at £7100. Currently, the car is on display at the China 3D-printing Culture Museum in Shanghai. It will be featured in an exhibit at the Beijing Motor Show, taking place from April 25th to May 4th.
Polymaker aren’t the only car manufacturers experimenting with 3D printing. Bugatti have created the world’s first 3D printed brake caliper for the Chiron. The calipers are made from a monobloc of titanium and the company have claimed that they are the longest in production, reaching 41 cm, as well as weighing 2.9 kg.
Porsche have also started creating 3D parts for classic cars like the 959. A release lever was created and Porsche explained the process as “a layer of powdery steel tool less than 0.1mm thick is applied to a processing plate in a computerised process. In an inert atmosphere, a high-energy light beam that melts the power in the desired locations to create a steel layer.”
3D printing certainly has its advantages, so it’ll be interesting to see if other manufacturers become part of the trend.