Revving Up the Open Source EV Community

“It’s always been the outlaws that drive the change.” –Hugo Spowers, Riversimple

This morning was my favorite portion of the EV conference.  Sharing the stage first set was Jay Rogers from Local Motors, Dr. Shimizu of SIMdrive and Hugo Spowers from Riversimple and 40fires.  Each speaker told a unique story and sometimes disagreed with the others (bring it on!), which made for great chemistry and an inspiring morning. 

There’s too much to share for one blogpost, so please stay tuned for more.  Meanwhile what can I say tonight?   Here’s a quick recap on the first set:

SIMdrive’s been massaging the EV question for awhile now and have already produced 10 prototypes!  The latest beats Porsche in acceleration tests, so delete your misconceptions about EVs and speed.  Dr. Shimizu explained that we must produce EVs that also are comfortable and have spacious interiors to incite purchasing.  You would think SIMdrive’s secret sauce is in their ingenious technology platform, but nope, not it.  Their secret sauce is the business model; but I’ll have to leave you in suspense for now. 

Next up was Riversimple.  Hugo Spower’s explained their philosophy: “If you sell a car, you make more money by selling more cards.  It maximizes resource usage, and this isn’t sustainable.”  Therefore Riversimple’s business model is to see mobility as a service in cities with populations under 300 thousand.  Starting 2012 with Ludlow and two others, they’ll begin creating service infrastructures that in a few years will make for a full skeleton of spots that can then support intercity cars.

Local Motors’ approach is to create local jobs, local micro-factories and local cars.  They run specified contests to co-create designs particular to regional terrain, weather conditions and usage requirements.  This eliminates the need/challenge/cost to build ‘world cars’ that are safe everywhere.  And related to safety, Local Motors and Habitat for Humanity have something in common, but it’s not what you think it is.  More on that soon. 

Are they outlaws?  No Jesse James here.  These are people who’ve had enough of the old way and are determined to be a part of the solution. 

Anne Asensio commented that this event represents “the first community about the community.”  And Jay Rogers predicted, “Today’s discussion will be remembered for a very long time.” 

I look forward to sharing with you more about this event after ECF.  BTW, I’m at Disneyland Paris now and will clock in tomorrow with a fresh report. 3D Perspectives and Twitter #ecf2010 are the places to watch.