Open Source. Two words that have changed the world in the past may be doing it again. In simple terms, the idea behind open source is to increase development and production of a product by releasing the designs to the world at no cost. While this term has been used widely for decades in computer software, it is being reborn into the automotive industry.
A ground breaking company coming from the U.K. has come up with the beginning design for their first DIY vehicle, the Tabby. The company, OSVehicle, claims the process of piecing the four seater together will only take up an hour of your day and set you back around $6400(€4700). This price includes (not-so) optional features such as a 4kW electric powertrain capable of sending the vehicle up to 50mph, a 60Ah battery, racing style seats and a set of 195/65 R15 wheels. There is also a two seat version available that knocks off $135, if you prefer to leave the family at home.
While in its current state, the “base model” Tabby is more of a large go-cart than anything else, but plans are available for another, road-legal version named the Urban Tabby. This version allows you to add your own body work, while taking care of all the key structural components.
Many things we have come to know and love have been created using the open source methodology, but it’s important to realize that this is not always the case. A study on open source software has found that a mere 17% of open source projects were successful, though open source projects like Mozilla’s Firefox web browser and the WordPress blogging software used to publish this post can have world-changing effects. That said, prior open source car projects haven’t had the hoped-for success of their creators.
For a project as ambitious as the OSVehicle Tabby to succeed, it’ll require help from aspiring engineers and designers all over the world. OSVehicle’s designs are available for download, and they encourage others to make modifications to their designs. If you feel you have what it takes to improve these designs, contribute to the cause and help kickstart an automotive revolution.