The China Daily reports that Italian company X Electrical Vehicle, or XEV, expects to launch a 'mass-producible 3D-printed electric car' in China in 2019.

The article said the car would go into production from the second quarter of next year and cited as source a Guo Xiaozheng, a senior designer for the company, speaking in Shanghai.

The start-up is exhibiting its first 3D-printed car at Shanghai's China '3D-printing Cultural Museum', a month ahead of its show in Auto China 2018 in Beijing.

"Before the mass production, XEV has received 7,000 orders, and many Chinese companies have shown interest toward our products," Guo told the newspaper.

XEV plans to constantly improve the car model according to market feedback, including offering customers tailor-made features, Guo said.

It is claimed that 3D (additive) printing technologies mean many fewer parts while research and development time is shortened by as much as two-thirds.

Apart from the chassis, seats and glass, all the visible parts of the car are made with 3D printing technology, reducing the investment cost by more than 70% in comparison with a traditional vehicle, said Guo.

Though it is more cost efficient for low-volume and niche production applications, most major OEMs believe 3D printing is not fast enough for high-volume manufacturing. It is widely used in applications such as formula one motorsports construction, where value and precision are at a premium for 'single issue' models and prototypes.