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In this Update: R Motors 2.0 • My Upcoming Trip to EV Mecca • EV Links of Note


R Motors 2.0

  • Remember in Update 4 when I said I wanted to ball up and toss out a one-pager I'd written to define the business? Well, I went back and smoothed that rage-crumpled paper out, re-wrote it a bit, and combined it with what I think might be a larger opportunity: create an open source-based operating system that gives any EV restomodder the easiest platform to offer their customers 2019's automotive infotainment and smartphone-driven features in a package that seamlessly meshes best of past and present design. AKA: digital and analog displays working in harmony, plus some other crazy shit to surprise and delight drivers and passengers alike.

    Here's the One-Pager for this "Indie Car OS" concept.

    I would really appreciate your feedback on this Doc; it's the conclusion of all of my research to this point. I still plan to start by converting some classics to EV; learning from each of these conversions must drive development and validation of the OS.

My Upcoming Trip to EV Mecca

  • In previous updates, I've detailed several key players in EV restomod - designers (Zelectric / Electric GT), suppliers and project builders (EV West), and complete bare-metal-and-no-detail-overlooked remanufacturers (ICON). They're all in the LA/San Diego area. I'm planning to visit all of them next week. My goals: 1) learn how they initially found their customers and product/market fit, and what's next on their roadmap 2) tackle some basic questions, like aftermarket EV insurance, regulatory safety compliance/re-titling and other red tape 3) start to gauge their own need for an "Indie Car OS". What problems can it solve for them?
  • I'm most excited to meet Jonathan Ward, CEO of ICON; this freewheeling interview gives you a sense of how passionate he is about revealing what's actually timeless about a given classic ride. This is so critical to why I'm interested in starting R Motors: “We're trying to evolve products, and put more passion and longevity into a product. Versus the big-box whorehouse [disposable mentality]. We all have enough shit. Now people are starting to realize instead of buying a big-box $20 piece of shit backpack that their kid destroys in three months, start thinking a little more before the next consumption transition and find a product that someone gave a shit about designing. And, yeah, maybe you're going to blow 200 on that bag, but you'll have it for decades.”

    As a reminder, ICON isn't EV-focused; they are experimenting with electric in their very very high-end builds. Literally all options are on the table for their Derelicts, FJ, and Bronco I restomods. Time to learn from the best.

EV links of note

  • "So Shobe: you're barely even a coder, and now you say you're going to develop an entire OS? Jeezus. Get real."

    Fortunately, I don't have to! I found Automotive Grade Linux this week, which gives car makers "80%" of what they need to deliver infotainment (nav, music, climate control, basic car system readouts, etc.) - the remaining 20% is their customization. Toyota's 2018 and newer Camrys run it. There is zero reason it can't be used on restomods. It will still require serious software engineering chops to tame, but that's a challenge that's in range.
  • More dividends from the smartphone revolution: US Micro Products offers round TFT displays in large sizes - perfect for replacing select analog gauges right in their existing bezels. I love the idea of this little display in an otherwise original, analog muscle car dashboard being a portal into the 2019-ness of the car. Cleverness of this technology integration is key to its appeal. (More conventional rectilinear displays / touchscreens can appear elsewhere - the center console in many cars, for example.)
  • British chassis maker Swindon is restomodding 100 Mini Cooper Classics as EVs. Starting at $100K.
  • You probably already saw this because Amazon. More big money hits a new player in EV OEM trucking: Rivian. Adds to my belief that no-nonsense restomod with an eye to working trucks could make sense if the costs drop broadly.
I will report back after the SoCal trip in Update 6. Some other irons are in the fire; no point talking about them until there are further developments. I'm excited about all this car stuff, and I hope you still are, too.

R Motors

Timeless automobiles reimagined to inspire drivers worldwide.

To craft exhilarating and sustainable motoring experiences, designed for people who love to drive.

Classic Cars Electrified and Outfitted for 21st Century Drivers. Like You.

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