Italian open source enthusiasts Francisco Liu and Ampelio Macchi have teamed up to design the Tabby DIY car. In recent years we've seen a popular surge in open source furniture models, tricycles and even housing designs, but a build-it-yourself two to four passenger vehicle with a chassis that can be assembled in less than 60 minutes is pretty exciting stuff.
The OSVehicle project was launched late last year and aims to open the door to a new platform where an economic and road legal vehicle can be built by smaller organizations, or even by individuals who are happy to get their hands dirty. The OSVehicle open source platform has set itself up to create an "IKEA"-type of car, giving folks the basic design and mathematics to construct and complete their very own passenger vehicle.
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"The design feature of the OSVehicle platform provides simplicity, modularity and ease of access," the OSVehicle team tells Gizmag. "We think that the concept of the 'IKEA car' (a modular car that is easy to assemble) is a super powerful concept. You just need to buy a kit and you’re done. Oh, and a shed and two mechanics will do."
The OSVehicle project is currently developing two different open source models. The Tabby features a small two or four person chassis that, according to the company, only needs an hour to be assembled. The Tabby can be fitted with a traditional combustion engine, an electric motor or a hybrid sports electric engine (IHE).
The IHE is a unique hybrid engine currently being developed by OSVehicle and consists of two electric motors combined with an internal combustion engine. According to OSVehicle, the IHE will come with a "very competitive price tag."
The Urban Tabby on the other hand features a structure that you can mount on top of the Tabby chassis, providing users with a road-ready and certified car which will be legally recognized in Europe, Asia and the United States.
"We now have Tabby working prototypes that we are testing out in order to improve stability and security: in parallel we are working on the approval of the Urban Tabby with an international partner and working on our hybrid engine," reveals the OSVehicle team. "On the technical side, we would say that we are pretty advanced, we are now structuring the platform to handle the incredible feedback we got from the community."
The Urban Tabby has been designed for several international markets and all the detailed specs of the final build of the Urban Tabby will be soon available on the company's website. Currently, the models have a top speed of approximately 70 to 90 km/h (43 to 56 mph).
"It really depends on the weight of the body and the setting of the electric motor, but if you want you can set it to go over 150 km/h," says OSVehicle. "It can be pretty fast!"
The small and sustainable Tabby and Urban Tabby vehicles could be suitable for a range of purposes, including internal or private transportation within airports or large factories, transportation of water, food or medical supplies in isolated places such rural Africa, or the creation of a "green" car sharing fleet.
"African makers can buy the kits, engineer it locally thanks to the access to the sources, perhaps sell the vehicles within the local community and hopefully learning over time how to build it with local resources," OSVehicle speculates. "That would be awesome."
The OSVehicle team is currently working hard to improve both the technical and legal framework of the project, but hope to get the first prototypes on the road in the first half of 2014.
If you're keen to get started on your very own Tabby build, several components of the concept car are now available for pre-order. The final cost to complete the road-ready car would probably set you back around €4,000 to 6,000 (US$5,350 to 8,000).
The video below demonstrates how two mechanics can construct the Tabby in less than 42 minutes.