December 4, 2013
Locals might have noticed a sleek, new face around downtown Vegas: Local Motors, which opened up its microfactory in November.
Funded by Tony Hsieh and the VegasTechFund, Local Motors is a design collaborative that takes a unique approach to creating new vehicles. Their models – the Rally Fighter car, Racer motorcycle, and motorized LM Cruiser bicycle – all started out as an idea on their website. Their community of over 30,000 votes on ideas, and the most popular ones turn into projects. Then, anyone can chip in, have discussions, create designs, and help bring the vehicle to life. This process is up to ten times faster than traditional vehicle design, they say.
Local Motors recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for its Cruiser bicycle, designed by Ianis Vasilatos of Romania. If they hit their $50,000 goal, Local Motors factories will start producing it. In partnership with Crowdtilt, they plan to incorporate crowdfunding into their platform so future vehicles can get funded, as well.
At the new microfactory, the Las Vegas community can contribute to the creation process, improving current Local Motors vehicles and imagining new ones. They can also watch vehicles being tuned up; purchase gear like helmets, skateboards, and t-shirts; or stop by the cafe for coffee and snacks. But one of the best parts of the microfactory is coming soon: LM Labs.
LM Labs will be a space for local makers to turn their ideas into reality. Residents will have access to design and 3D modeling software, as well as 3D printers, welders, and waterjet machines. With the local maker community growing, Local Motors wants to be a resource for them downtown.
Local Motors expanded to Vegas from Phoenix, where they also have a microfactory and retail store. But their new shop isn’t just a duplicate: they also launched a mobifactory, a smaller version of the microfactory built inside a shipping container. The idea is that it can be shipped anywhere around the country, giving Local Motors a hub for operations and prototyping. And they do plan on expanding to at least five more US cities next year, and maybe even some international ones.
Part of Local Motors’s mission is to make transportation more sustainable and solve local problems, so you might guess what’s in the works: a vehicle designed for Las Vegas. “We’re already actively working with the Downtown Project team to identify the next Local Motors vehicle specifically for Las Vegas,” says Amy Romano, director of strategic marketing, communications, and PR.
If you live downtown, Local Motors wants to hear your ideas – just like the Downtown Project, they’re big supporters of collaboration and community. “Ensuring an open dialogue and transparency with community members in order to facilitate innovation and empower the individual maker is the foundation of what we do,” says Romano. “We believe wholeheartedly that Local Motors in downtown Las Vegas was an inevitability. A perfect match, really.”
Local Motors is a title sponsor of the December Tech Cocktail Week, and CEO Jay Rogers will be a featured speaker there – join us!
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