C,mm,n: An Open Source Transportation Project

(pronounced "common") is an "open source community for sustainable personal mobility." In other words, it's a distributed group of people all working on a few collective clean transportation projects. The car above is one of their projects, but they're also working on the alternative fuel infrastructure problem. Designs, blueprints, or any other intellectual property developed by the C,mm,n group is available to everyone for free use. The initiative is Dutch in origin, it's been going since 2005, and they have 800 members.

Like an open source software project, C,mm,n can crowdsource ideas and avoid institutional myopia. But one big advantage of open source software is that any developer can tweak some code and test the results immediately. When it comes to building a car, however, it's expensive and time-consuming to build prototypes and run real-world tests. Can the open source approach work well when iteration is resource-intensive and rapid trial-and-error testing isn't practical? I'm not convinced.

Also, I hate to say it but if the wisdom of crowds got us the name "C,mm,n," I'm not sure I'd risk riding in their cars.