For most of us, cars are something we buy, not build. Part of the reason for that is that each brand of vehicle has their own proprietary components, and building a car that's a hybrid of labels, or different year models isn't a simple endeavor (and might take 24 years, at least if you follow the recipe of Johnny Cash). Another reason is that many of us don't have the skillset or the tools to fabricate an entire vehicle, and kit cars can be quite expensive.
But what if there was a DIY vehicle platform that was not only affordable, but also street-legal, open source, and versatile, with the option for an electric drivetrain or an integrated hybrid engine? That might change the game entirely, at least for those of us who like tinkering and aren't afraid to get our hands dirty. And it's here.
The OSVehicle is, at its heart, an open source car platform that is said to be an "industrializable, production ready, versatile, universal chassis", and it currently comes in two varieties, the TABBY, and the Urban TABBY.The TABBY is the original platform, and isn't necessarily designed to be street-legal (though it could be made so). The blueprints and plans for the TABBY can be downloaded, improved upon, and shared with others, and could be a great jumping-off point for creating your own custom vehicle, or for creating a business around, or even as an educational tool.
The Urban TABBY is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, as it's the street-legal evolution of the original design, which takes into consideration all of the details necessary to comply with the regulations for vehicles that drive on public roads (headlights, turn signals, etc.). The Urban TABBY also lends itself easily to customization and modification, and could be a great addition to our modern car culture.
If you've got the space and the tools, the TABBY can be put together in less than in hour:
The OSVehicle, which comes in both two seat and four seat versions, can integrate a fully electric drivetrain, an integrated hybrid engine, or an internal combustion engine, and fully finished models are said to cost between €4000 to €6000 ($5445 to $8168). The components for the TABBY are currently available for preorder, or if you'd rather wait for a completed vehicle, the first fully electric TABBYs with a stock motor will be available sometime in the spring of 2014. Later in 2014, an all electric version with an electric motor specifically made for the TABBY will be available, and updates on the hybrid and internal combustion models are said to be forthcoming.