Jan
27

Local Motors: Successful Crowdsourcing as a Design Tool for Innovation

By

During the CoDev 2011 conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, I was impressed with a speech given by a local CEO, John (“Jay”) Rogers of Local Motors in Chandler, Arizona. This small company designs exciting new vehicles using design contests that are open to the public. Their rapidly growing community (12,000 participants so far) contributes designs and feedback to help in the selection of potentially successful concepts that Local Motors will then build locally in a microfactory, with final customization of the appearance being achieved with an environmentally friendly and durable vinyl wrap that eliminates the need for paint and gives the owner freedom to have a unique look. The final assembly is done with hands-on help from the new owner, who becomes intimately familiar with the vehicle and with its maintenance.

I was impressed enough with what I heard that I changed my evening plans to drive down to Chandler and attend an open house at Local Motors hosted by Jay himself. He allowed photography, so below you can see some views of Jay speaking and some shots of his vehicles in various stages of construction. The Rally Fighter that I am standing by sells for $59,000. It’s an incredible rugged, safe, and fun car that is legal on the road but a load of fun off road as well. It’s able to do very nice jumps.

These cars weigh much less than other cars their size, offering a huge bonus in mileage. Great engineering and innovation at many levels makes this possible.

The microfactory concept involves assembly of a small number of vehicles at a time in sustainable, efficient processes.

Jay Rogers demonstrates a $300 crimping tool

Jay Rogers demonstrates a $300 crimping tool

Jay shows the wire harness for the Local Motors Rally Fighter

Jay shows the wire harness for the Local Motors Rally Fighter

Jeff Lindsay in front of an early Rally Fighter from Local Motors

Jeff Lindsay in front of an early Rally Fighter from Local Motors

Inside a Rally Fighter

Inside a Rally Fighter

Initial frame, before welding

Initial frame, before welding

A portion of the body, before the custom vinyl wrap is added.

A portion of the body, before the custom vinyl wrap is added.

The frame. Remarkably strong, protective, and light.

The frame. Remarkably strong, protective, and light.

A portion of the frame.

A portion of the frame.

Nice shocks. This baby can jump.

This baby can jump.

Coming together....

Coming together....

A sweet car: the Rally Fighter by Local Motors

A sweet car: the Rally Fighter by Local Motors. This was one of the first vehicles produced.

Comments

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