March 16, 2013
Race Car Built Over The Internet
The Internet is a place where you can find or buy just about anything. Seek and ye shall find, as the saying goes. And that is just what Local Motors, a car company from Arizona, did. During the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, John B. Rogers, the president and co-founder of Local Motors, spoke on using the internet to make an automobile efficiently and inexpensively by crowdsourcing: a community of internet users who design and vote on projects from Local Motors.
“If Henry Ford had had Twitter and Internet access, he surely would have made his automobiles in a very different way,” said Rogers. The company’s slogan is: “Made by you in America.”
The name of the vehicle is the Rally Fighter and is believed to be the first production car designed by people over the Internet. It is orange, has that muscle car look, and with steer horns mounted on the nose, it is definitely a head turner. The engine is a 6.2-liter V-8, pushing 430 HP that is connected to an automatic transmission and has rear wheel drive.
The design of the car was chosen by a vote from hundreds of people on the Internet in 2009, with the winning design submitted by Sangho Kim of Pasadena, California. The Rally Fighter was produced in 18 months at a cost of $3 million for development, which is considerably less than the major automakers will spend to develop a new vehicle.
Rogers said, “It costs $10 to design a five-point seat belt like the Rally Fighter’s, compared to the $6 million it takes to develop an airbag.”
Included in the $99,900 price tag for the Rally Fighter is a six-day stay at the Local Motors’ Arizona plant while the car is being built. When purchased, the car comes in a kit and must be assembled. The kit includes a detailed instruction manual, wikis, YouTube how to videos and Local Motors support.
There have already been dozens of Rally Fighters sold in Russia, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, but mostly in the US. According to Rogers, once 2,000 vehicles are sold, that model will be abandoned and work on a new one will start.
Local Motors was founded five years ago and has 25,000 members in their Internet community and has 50 full time employees. Another ongoing project is a prototype military vehicle called the XC2v for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Other community design challenges are the best pizza delivery vehicle, requested by Domino’s Pizza, and the best driving shoe, requested by Reebok.
Rogers has also stated he wants to build a motorcycle, a boat, and an affordable $10,000 car, using the same crowdsource principle.
Image Credit: Local Motors