Wikispeed is an idea born from the ingenious mind of Joe Justice, computer scientist working in the world of software. He fulfilled his vision of a products’ developlent through Open Source mechanisms.
In those days the idea would have seemed impossible, but today the adoption of this approach is a solution to the fast development of a small enterprise and its products, streamlining and speeding up many of the mechanisms that traditionally slow down and cause inefficiencies in production processes.
The first major problem of the traditional car companies is that they need even ten years to develop a model and another five, ten or even fourteen to produce it. For that reason, the brand new cars bought by the consumer, it is actually what he needs today according to the opinion of some designers twenty years ago!
Wikispeed’s car, in contrast, is entirely designed to be truly modular. In other words, it’s made to allow the owner to easily change the components. With Wikispeed car you might change the whole body, passing for example from 2 to 3 volumes or from a sedan to a spider, spending less than $ 1000.
You can also replace the whole engine with another (physically compatible) to reduce the consume, to use a cheaper fuel or to follow the new anti-smog standards.
All this helps to simplify as much as possible the maintenance and the “update”, making them affordable even for less experienced mechanics thus transforming the replacement of the engine, brakes, suspension and all the components in a process that takes only a few minutes.
In addition to last much longer because it’s easily maintainable and upgradeable, Wikispeed would lose less value for the same reason, namely because the buyer would know to have the possibility to revamp the important components without overspending.
The Wikispeed ideas are not limited to cars. In fact, the engineers are trying out trials for the construction of tractors and other agricultural vehicles.
The Wikispeed’s project is progressing in a slow way, but each step of the start-up created by Justice is proof that Open Source is not a model applicable exclusively to the development of softwares, it can easily be adapted to the research and production of material assets!