If none of the electric cars currently on the market suit your tastes--or wallet--why not just build one?

That's now possible thanks to the OSVehicle Tabby, although it's only a "car" in the most basic sense. It's really just four wheels, two seats, and a steering wheel mounted to a bare chassis.

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The lack of frivolous luxuries like a windshield makes the Tabby very cheap. According to Wired, a basic chassis available in either two-seat or four-seat configurations for 500 pounds. Add in the battery pack, electric motor and associated hardware, and seats, and the entire package costs around $4,000.

The Tabby is also easy to assemble. It's shipped to the buyer's garage door like an Ikea wardrobe. OSVehicle reckons that customers will be able to do the job in one hour, although the people who designed it managed to complete assembly in around 41 minutes in the video above.

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Drivers looking for a more substantial vehicle can opt for the Urban Tabby, which has some bodywork is road legal, in the U.K. at least. OSVehicle also plans to offer more powertrain options, including a choice of three electric motors (4-kilowatts, 8-kW, and 15-kW), gasoline engines (50-cc or 250-cc), and even a hybrid with a 125-cc gasoline engine and 15-kW electric motor.

Since the Tabby is open source, OSVehicle will also look to a community of owners and tinkerers for suggestions and recommendations. It will be interesting to see how this Linux-like approach to car building works out.

Our take: This particular example of open-sourced electric car engineering is certainly not yet ready for prime time, but this may be one version of the future of personal transportation. Small, affordable, efficient, and customizable, the concept lends itself to adaptation, a key trait in the increasingly dense and diverse modern urban transit landscape.


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