Solutions for Self-Reliance

Your Next Car Might be Built Locally


Resilience is about being able to produce most of the things you need to live well.  It isn’t about deprivation, roughing it, or turning back the clock.  This means that resilient local production can’t be limited merely to the essentials like food and energy.  It should also include the “consumer” products, the things, we find extremely useful.

Fortunately, that’s increasingly possible.  How?  There’s a manufacturing revolution going on that is making it possible to produce most of what we currently buy from the global production system (multi-national companies and China) locally, within our own communities.  That even includes products as larger and complex as cars.

Here’s a cool example:  Wikispeed (if you are technical, take some time to watch the videos of their production process on the site).

Wikispeed is an online car company with a volunteer team of designers, engineers, and enthusiasts all over the world.  Recently, this team jointly designed a complete car in a stunningly quick three months that:

  • gets high performance,
  • achieves 100 miles per gallon mileage,
  • meets all US safety standards,
  • uses modular construction (so that all parts and subsystems can be easily replaced).

Not only that, it’s beautiful (see below).

Wikispeed Roadster

For our purposes, it’s important to understand that this design can be made in a relatively small, local “factory.”  A factory that employs craftspeople you know.  A factory that you can visit.  A factory where it may be possible to participate in the manufacturing process.

As you can see, this method of manufacturing adds to local resilience.  It invests in local expertise and productive capacity.  It creates resilience.  The critical thing here is that if you can produce something as complicated as a car locally, it’s possible to do so much more.  Don’t limit your imagination to what’s possible.

Your hoping to buy my next car from a local maker analyst,


John Robb


PS:  Wikispeed isn’t the only car company doing this.  Local Motors is too.  I met with their CEO recently, great guy.

PPS:  Wikispeed has recently inked an agreement with my friends at the innovative Open Source Ecology (a group that is working on low cost, local tools) to merge their modular production systems.


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