For the opening chapters of his professional life story, Joe Justice assumed the lead character’s role of software consultant, writ large. So when Joe set out down the road to solve a classic hardware problem like how to build a motor vehicle that could exceed 100 miles to the gallon, his mechanical thinking gave equal justice to his software training.
To cross the chasm between old-world combustion engines and the ‘nex-gen’ of hybrid and electric vehicles, Joe brought to bear his experience in “Lean,” “Agile” and “Scrum” computing “best practices.” Blending the principles of software design with such automotive-performance technologies as chassis design, fuel mapping/ECU programming, suspension setup and simulation, driving theory and associated physics, not to mention carbon-fiber and other high-performance composite fabrication, Joe founded WIKISPEED as a think tank with a mission — to master the automotive gas tank.
Together with what could be characterized as an open source team of volunteers and co-visionaries, and with “build centers” at strategic locations nationwide, including Lynwood and Everett, Wa., WIKISPEED has crowdsourced the talents of everyone from NASA engineers to Apple Computer technicians, from the founder of MIT’s material sciences laboratory to the former manager of one of the largest military research facilities in the world. Factor in Microsoft and Google employees, aerodynamicists, tire compound engineers, machinists, fabricators, composites specialists, simulation and CAD staff, and a cadre of ordinary citizens and you have encompassed the WIKISPEED labor force, the same kind of talent pool that cultivated Linux among other “open source” technologies. Interested in joining them?
The company invites new talents to join them in a Shop Talk every Thursday night at their Lynwood location just a few blocks from Alderwood Mall. You can follow the company on Twitter at @WIKISPEED or eMail info@WIKISPEED.com to volunteer and discover how you might start up a prototype car build site in your area.
The WIKISPEED vehicle that finished tenth in the X-Prize competition has emerged as the “pace car” in capturing the imagination of just what is possible in fossil fuel efficiency. Its name is the WIKISPEED SGT01.
The sleek, aerodynamic convertible achieves its remarkable gas mileage through finely tuned design, component modularity and lightweight carbon fiber composites. The lightest car ever to achieve a five-star equivalency rating for front, side and rear impact tests, the vehicle is also light on price for a sports car that can achieve 0-60 mph in just seconds and race to 200Km per hour or autobahn speeds. The modular vehicle design includes two front loaded air bags but can be custom-suited to owner preferences.
While the WIKISPEED product name is also a metaphor for the velocity of the engineering team’s rate of innovation and its snappy 1.7 liter Honda engine, buying a WIKISPEED car or truck (a pickup truck is the next prototype on the drawing board) will require extraordinary patience. Order your model today and you can expect to take delivery in around 12 months. The entire process is hand-crafted and Team WIKISPEED includes the new car’s owner as a key member of the team.
Ultimately, what WIKISPEED seems to represent is more process than product. Can a truly energy efficient car be designed and produced by the collective engineering power of its high-caliber constituents? Is open-sourced talent the solution to merging brainpower with vehicle power?
WIKISPEED may just have the answer!