Local Motors: Automotive 3.0

The folks at Local Motors are nothing if not audacious.

The folks at Local Motors are nothing if not audacious.

Here’s how they position the company:

“If the mass production and marketing methods of Ford and GM ushered in the first generation of auto making, and the lean Toyota Production System ushered in the second, Local Motors represents the fully functioning ‘Automotive 3.0’ company.”

Ford, GM, Toyota. . . Local Motors.

The Local Motors approach is not mass manufacturing and selling. Its approach is to have a light weight chassis upon which carbon-fiber bodies are placed. This work is done in “micro-factories,” which are to be located in communities across the country (thus, the name of the company): “All cars are assembled, tested for quality, and sold locally by a 20-person business unit at a facility with a 1/100th the capital of today’s auto plants.” Given that an auto plant can cost on the order of $1-billion, we’re guessing it might be significantly less than 1/100th.

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Inside a Local Motors Micro-Factory

Anyway. . .to create cars that are imaginative and appealing, Local Motors engages the design community through contests. Right now the “Terra Prix 2085: Race Around the World” design contest is underway, with the conceit being that it is the year 2085, oil resources are (no surprise) scarce, and yet the International Prototype Racing Federation is holding a drive around the world.

So designers are being asked to design the vehicles that can accomplish this feat.

And because this is an Automotive 3.0 company, they’re asking the public to vote on the winning designs.

Which you can do here.