They’ve built desert racers, motorcycles, drift trikes, cruisers and the world’s first 3D printed car, but one thing on their collaborative, open-source product development list of vehicle innovation isn’t a vehicle at all. It seems their sight are set toward the sky. The company just revealed that newly formed Airbus Ventures has made a ‘significant investment’ in the Phoenix-based company.
“We’re dead-set on revolutionizing the way we make vehicles through direct digital manufacturing, and Airbus Ventures recognizes the value of this for the aerospace sector.” says Jay Rodgers, CEO of Local Motors. “Simply said, we want to remake hardware to bring it up to speed with the pace of our best software.”
And by hardware, he means the big stuff–cars, planes, heavy machinery, and the like. Remember when Local Motors was just getting people to design an off-road car? Yeah, they’ve come along quite a bit since then, with a growing community, expanded product line, more facilities and now, more money to make it all better.
All of this comes a few days after the announcement of their new production facility in Knoxville, Tennessee nearing completion. The 47,000 sf, six story facility will be the company’s “primary production facility for highway-ready 3D-printed cars and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles.” The expansion also includes a reatil shop and product lab opening in Benton Harbor, Maryland. Both are expected to open Summer 2016.
According to BizJournal, “Airbus Ventures plans to invest in Local Motors’ community platform and build out labs and microfactories in Europe, with an initial focus in Germany.”
Applying what Local Motors has done in the vehicle and EV market to Aerospace certainly holds some interesting possibility. We’ve reached out to Jay at Local Motors and will update with additional info.