- Created: 10 February 2010
- Hits: 6320
While this idea is not new (GM displayed the AUTOnomy project a few years ago), TREXA has finally announced pricing for their self-contained electric vehicle chassis. They say it will cost $16,000.
This platform has some really interesting potential, especially for the DIY community. You simply buy the fully functional chassis from TREXA, and you get a rolling "sled" that is a flat base to construct any type of vehicle body you wish. The chassis is 4WD, and suitable for both on and off road activities.
I could see this as especially promising for low volume, or highly specialized vehicles, such as an ambulance/"troop carrier" for a sports team, or materials handling vehicle in a factory. DIY'ers are going to love it, since you can build it however you want it, and are not constrained by the typical functional issues, like leaving room for the engine or positioning things over drivetrain "humps" in the floor.
The cost positions a finished vehicle in the typical mid-grade car price range, around $25,000. It will be interesting to see how finance and insurance companies respond to these types of vehicles entering the market. There is obviously a small contingent of people that build and drive kit cars, dune buggies, and other custom vehicles. However, such things that tend to go unregulated, or lightly regulated, when numbers are low, quickly changes when popularity increases.
The one concern I have is safety and crash testing. Even high tech DIY'ers are not going to have access to the computational tools, and expendable prototype models, for doing proper safety testing. So while some people may still brave the waters and drive their own design, I see a lot of possibilities for a niche industry of custom vehicle shops, that can develop a multitude of body styles to meet the needs of a wide variety consumers.
However it ends up happening, I think we're in for some very cool vehicles to drive around in.
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