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In The Fast Lane Of Disruption

Car designer John B. (Jay) Rogers, CEO and co-founder Local Motors, believes deeply in the concept of open sourcing.

Rogers’ first vehicle, the Rally Fighter, was crafted from concept to prototype through open-source design on the company website. It is being built in regional “micro-factories” that represent a unique collaboration between small-volume manufacturing and car-loving communities.

Local Motors has taken the open-source concept to the extreme. Design competitions attract entries from designers and engineers around the globe and garner votes from car fanatics of all stripes. Once the body of the car has been voted on, details such as interiors, side-vents and roof-mounted light bars are “mass-customized” with web input from additional competitions. The development of the car becomes a community project. In keeping with the “local” feel of the company, competition parameters request designs for specific regions.

Rogers sees a national network of micro-factories employing local workers (“blue collar, white collar and green collar”), using locally made 3D-printed parts when available, and customizing products that the community actually wants. He expects this confluence to trigger an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for businesses that want to build components or aftermarket add-ons.