OSVehicle - Building Open Source Cars

OSVehicle is an ambitious project to bring open source collaboration and innovation to automotive manufacturing. The project has already given rise to one car - the Tabby - which is the world's first ever open source car. All of the plans and CAD files for the Tabby are published freely on the project's website under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License, and you can also buy kits and extra parts from the same place. The project is based in Italy, so all purchases from the website are priced in Euros and shipped from Europe.

Like most other open source projects, there is an official forum for makers to get together, share their ideas and work together to build upon the platform provided by OSVehicle.

Tabby - The World's First Open Source Car

The Tabby is described on the OSVehicle website as an “industrializable, production ready, versatile, universal chassis.” The basic tabby design can be assembled in less than an hour using an ordinary mechanic's toolbox. It is a two seater as standard, but the flexible chassis design means that it can be easily converted to a four seater, an off-road vehicle, or whatever other design you can come up with yourself.

Environmentally friendly automotive engineering seems to be close to the top of the priority list for OSVehicle, and version one of the tabby uses an electric engine. This electric engine, with full electronic control system, can be constructed in three different 'flavours' - Limited, Base and Performance. The Limited engine requires 72 volt synchronous power and can reach a maximum speed of 45km/h, whilst at the other end of the scale the Performance engine requires a 120 volt power source, but can reach a max speed of around 80 km/h. A second powertrain, in the form of an Integrated Hybrid Engine (IHE), is set for release in late 2014. This IHE will feature a modular design so that makers need only build the features they want or need, will again have full electronic control, and will feature a strong focus on low fuel consumption with advanced features such as Start / Stop function and total recovery of braking energy.

There is also an 'Urban Tabby' in the works, which according to the project's website will be released 'soon'. The Urban Tabby is an add-on kit for the standard model Tabby which will give you everything you need to make your vehicle road legal.

The Tabby Kit


Beyond the Tabby - An 'Open Source Framework

Despite breaking a lot of new ground with the features described above, the real strength of the Tabby is in its flexibility for future development. In fact, the Tabby itself is not presented as just an open source car (although it is), but as an 'open source framework' for creating a range of different vehicles. Put simply, the plan is for the Tabby to provide a base, a 'universal chassis', on which to build up a range of different open source vehicle projects.

Categories: Vehicles | Cars | Engineering | Open Source | Open Source Hardware

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