When can I buy a Very Light Car? This a question we are asked just about every day. We love everyone’s enthusiasm, but the answer is we simply don’t know. We are very hard at work on the next generation VLC, one that is roomier, friendlier, more stylish and with proven safety. Three years? Maybe. But we consider ourselves to be “car first”: get the design and performance right and the rest will follow.
But one thing we are clear on: we are not going into the car manufacturing business. We know that we are experienced and competent at design, engineering, building and testing. But we have no experience whatsoever in manufacturing tens of thousands or even more of something, not to mention marketing and distributing. We will partner with or license our ideas to others with the experience we lack to bring the VLC to market.
How much will it cost? We don’t know the answer to this one, either, but we know it will be affordable. It must be affordable: we cannot solve the problems of oil addiction or CO2 emissions with $40,000 or $50,000 cars. Design simplicity, mainstream materials and low-mass mean this will be a less than $20 thousand car…maybe significantly less.
Is there interest from large OEM’s? Yes, lots. But for reasons deeply embedded in their methods it is difficult for OEM's to quickly adopt our technology. It is not “plug and play” with current legacy based vehicles. A new car from Ford or GM or Volkswagon reflects millions of dollars invested in things like suspensions, brakes, and drive-trains. Our car is a ground-up design – it is so light that it no longer requires a heavy suspension, or brakes, or a powerful engine, and in fact it uses no parts at all that come from other cars. Our approach just does not fit neatly into current business models. Because we are "favored by physics" we feel it is certain at least some of our ideas will find their way into future cars.
How about a kit? We haven’t ruled out the idea of a kit as a learning vehicle, which would be an affordable, quick way to see some VLCs on the road. It may depend on how many people would be interested in a kit, so if you are, let us know!