Thursday, January 31, 2008

The 3 Why's

Sometimes it is nice to be reminded why were are all so busy at Local Motors.

I like to think of the reasons as the "3 Why's":

Why the automobile market?
Today, transportation as a sector, represented a growing 70% of US oil consumption.
• The fuel used in cars and light trucks represents 40% of this consumption.
• Local Motors is targeted precisely at this environmental problem

Our innovation: If you plot on a graph of value versus time, in this left curve you see the current paradigm. Current automakers are spending a lot of time and money pouring billions of dollars into propulsion-based research, such as fuel cells, and according to their own projections, new systems are still a decade away from mass introduction. We propose to make the leap to a new efficient frontier through the innovative use of lightweight, composite-reinforced materials.

The new materials allow for both: 1) substantially improved fuel efficiency and 2) manufacturability at low volumes in distributed locations physically close to the customer. Once we achieve this manufacturing innovation we will then be in a position to adopt the newest technologies in propulsion as a fast follower.

Why for our customer? Car lovers of all ages, skill-levels, and economic status are looking for a car experience that is worthy of their $50K investment. They:
• want to be treated to an entertainment experience where they watch their car being built.
• want something that other people truly don’t have.
• want a product and a company that stands for environmental efficiency and a reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
• want to call the same person who sold them their car when they have any issues, compliments or suggestions.
• do not want to fool with “service”. They want the car picked up and returned to their house.
• want a market leading American car brand worthy of the respect of Apple, Deere, PACCAR, Harley Davidson.

Why for designers? Around the world, there are thousands of industrial designers, some self-employed as freelance workers and others engaged in various product design functions for corporations (The Supply). Though vehicle and transportation design occupies a large percentage of this groups’ collective work, there are only a paltry number of dedicated transportation design positions available due to the relatively slow creation cycle of new automobiles by the existing automakers (The Demand). This Supply and Demand mismatch has created a pent-up well of talented folks for which Local Motors hopes to give palette on which to paint and a stage on which to be appreciated.


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