Local Motors is an American motor vehicle manufacturing company focused on low-volume manufacturing of open-source motor vehicle designs using multiple microfactories. It was founded in 2007 with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. The company’s current vehicles include the Rally Fighter and their 3D-printed Strati and Swim vehicles. The company develops vehicles using 3D Printing and utilizes vehicle designs provided by the online community. In 2016, the company introduced an autonomous electric-powered shuttle named Olli.
Local Motors' website is a community focusing on vehicle innovation. The content is created by the users who discuss designing, engineering, and building innovative vehicles. Members contribute their own ideas and projects which are discussed with the community.
Co-creation is a technique used by Local Motors, General Electric, and LEGO to enhance new product development. Select organizations have partnered with the company to facilitate co-creation of their products including US Army, Domino’s, and Airbus. Local Motors uses Co-designing type of customer co-creation in which the selective process is made by its community and some features such as frame and structure are scoped by the company. Firstly, users create drawing designs and the decorative ideas on their own style. Although the users are novices or experts, all users can participate in this step. After that users present their designs on the website, the best design selected by people in the community will be developed by the company. Finally, the company will launch the co-designing car into the market. Using Co-creation method, company gains customer’s engagement and loyalty.
The propositions that Local Motors offer are:
- The car is produced and designed using the co-designing type of co-creation, which is called crowdsourcing. - The car was produced in 18 months, which is faster than the usual process by five times. - They are road legal cars. - The wheels are strong off-road wheels and are grade 8, which are used in the military. - About $3 million was spent to develop the car, which is less than the amount spent on commercial models by the automakers. The company achieved to spend about 3 million dollars by rethinking the car’s features, so they designed a five-point seat belt, which costs $10, instead of developing an airbag, which will cost them $6 million.
The Rally Fighter  was the first model produced by Local Motors and is an open sourced vehicle. The car was introduced in 2009 after 18 months of development, which constitutes a record Time to Market compared to the automobile industry standards, by applying innovative technologies and crowd sourcing techniques. As the company describes it, the Rally Fighter is "a fully capable off-road prerunner, with the amenities and luxuries of an every-day on road vehicle".
In collaboration with Cincinnati Incorporated and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Local Motors manufactured Strati, the world's first 3D printed electric car. The printing took 44 hours to complete, and was witnessed by a live audience at the 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show in McCormick Place, Chicago. The car consists of 50 individual parts, far less than a traditional vehicle (which is manufactured with roughly 30,000 parts). The Strati was designed by Michele Anoè, a member of the Local Motors community, and is produced in small quantities to serve strategic partnerships, such as with NXP Semiconductors.
In 2015, the company debuted a 3D-printed car named the LM3D Swim. It was designed by Kevin Lo, a member of the Local Motors community. The materials used are 80 percent ABS plastic and 20 percent carbon fiber. The vehicle uses technology provided by IBM that offered IoT connectivity. The Swim is currently on display at the company’s location in National Harbor, Maryland.
In 2016, the company unveiled an autonomous, electric-powered bus. The vehicle was designed by Edgar Sarmiento, initially named the "Berlino" from the Urban Mobility Challenge: Berlin 2030. The vehicle was built by Local Motors and has IBM Watson technology installed to provide a personalized experience for riders. The vehicle was demonstrated live to their online audience on Facebook Live at a media event in National Harbor. The vehicle is still undergoing development. On January 2, 2018, Local Motors received a pledge of up to a $1 billion in financing and operational support to customers of Olli from Florida-based Elite Transportation Services (ETS) with additional funding of $20 million from Texas-based Xcelerate.
Miami-Dade County, the State of Nevada and the Danish Vesthimmerland Municipality expressed interest in using Olli on their roadways. As of January 2020, Olli has been deployed at the United Nations ITCILO campus in Turin, Italy to provide transport shuttle to employees and guests within the campus.
Local Motors has facilities in Phoenix, Tempe, Knoxville, and National Harbor. The company also hosts educational events that are focused on technology, science, and manufacturing topics. People can visit their retail locations in Knoxville and National Harbor to purchase sustainable and locally-sourced merchandise.
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