Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


My goal is to create a global network of electric vehicle micro-manufacturers and designers to produce local open source electric vehicles.



This very simple EV kit can be assembled in one week verses the years that it typically takes to build a kit car or the many hours required to do a conversion.   It starts with an open-air vehicle, then progresses to a fully-enclosed vehicle. 
However, this is about much more than the first version or even any vehicle design itself. It's about creating a network of local micro manufacturers of EV's, and a global open source design community. A guy in a garage can be set up to manufacture kits with under $20K, mainly for a large CNC router. A variety of vehicles could be developed with the same method of using interlocked CNC cut composite panels, from bicycles and scooters to cars and trucks. The manufacturer would only need the composite panels and a CNC machine to produce any of the vehicles.
One large auto manufacturer can setup a factory to produce 100,000 cars and ship them around the world, or 1,000 local micro manufacturers can build 100 per year and have the same impact with a lower carbon footprint, helping improve local and national economies, and providing consumer confidence that they have a large open source support network to service and upgrade the vehicles.
The initial kit is a trike, which is considered a motorcycle in most states in the US, but it can be easily converted to a four wheel vehicle with either two seats or four seats.
The development process lends itself very well to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs like the BEST and FIRST robotics programs.  The 1/4 scale vehicles could be made fully-functional with inexpensive radio controlled car parts.   Competitions could be held like drag races, closed course races and reliability course tests.  Full-size vehicles could be created from the same CAD files using the same process, and used in high schools and colleges for learning about electric vehicles.

Category of the action

Reducing consumption

What actions do you propose?

1) Scale model development.

  Buy a desktop CNC router and desktop 3D printer, and develop the prototype vehicle in CAD.

  Build a non-functional 1/4 scale model.  Baseline the design and start a new model for a functional 1/4 scale model.  The functional model will result in a kit to be used for STEM-type educational programs, including writing software for full sensor suites for autonomous vehicles.

  Purchase a full-size CNC router and honeycomb panels for the full-size frame.  The first frame will be for component fitment and ergonomic design details.  Subsequent frames and subsections will be used for staic load testing.

  Initiate FEA analysis of frame.  Complete frame test plan (computer model and empiracal testing) required before design can be released.

  Complete electrical and mechanical design for drive system and battery pack.  Maximize off-the-shelf components.  Build complete vehicle for testing.

  Initiate instrumentation design.

  Find partner shops for franchise development.

  Begin other vehicle designs.

  Keep reducing cost and weight.

  Expand to open source component design.  Partner with other similar projects.

Who will take these actions?

ZWheelz, LLC (Gary) will hire local engineering graduates to manage web presence and complete CAD work.  ZWheelz will oversee and complete vehicle design, fabrication and testing.  FEA to be completed by open source community (two very experienced professonals already volunteered to help).

Where will these actions be taken?


San Antonio, TX

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

Environmental, Economic and Energy Security improvements at personal, local, national and global levels.  Disruptive technology, process and manufacturing.  Too big to detail.

What are the proposal’s costs?

- $2K desktop CNC and material

- $2K desktop 3D printer and material

- $10K full size CNC

- $10 honeycomb panels

- $10K drive system

- $15K battery pack

- $10K parts and material

- $100K+ labor


Time line

Possible to complete full-size vehicle in six months with full funding.  $10K will cover scale model development (tools, material and labor) for one year.

Related proposals



Bill Barker - City of San Antonio Office of Sustainability - 210.207.6322

Chris Ashcraft – South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable (STEER) – 540.809.0392

Craig Egan – ACE Technologies – 248.821.3899