Pop!Tech ’09: An Opensource Car Company
John Rogers's company, Local Motors, is novel to say the least. It's an "open source" car company that will build and distribute their models in local factories, with lots of customer input and involvement. In fact, the actual design of the cars themselves come from the customers.Here's the description furnished by Pop!Tech, where Rogers just spoke:Located in a Wareham, Massachusetts, industrial park, Local Motors solicits designs over its corporate website that are then put up for a public vote. But Local Motors' relatively tiny factories-about the size of your local Home Depot-are also state-of-the-art. "Micro-factory means micro-production," says Rogers, "which means several thousand units over the course of a year in a local area that employs local people." The company goal is to build 20 micro-factories across the country, each serving a regional market.The first model they're planning to produce is called the Rally Fighter. It's a gas-powered car (not a hybrid or anything) but Rogers argues that producing cars locally will make their cars more efficient, in a holistic sense, than the Prius. And moreover, with the opensource model, Local Motors could end up designing whatever a given community wanted.