A preamble to my actual numbers.
How much does it cost to build a concept car ?
by Christopher Lampton
A lot of effort goes into producing a concept car. So exactly how much does it cost to build one?
The reason that cars we drive are so inexpensive -- well, if you can call anything that costs well into the five-figure range inexpensive -- is that so many of them get made. When tens of thousands of identical models come rolling off the assembly line, economies of scale kick in. The cost of designing the car and designing a production process that can be used to manufacture it gets deferred over the large number of vehicles that end up in car dealers' lots.
But what about concept cars? These are brand new vehicles, or mock-ups of new vehicles, that incorporate revolutionary new ideas in technology and design. Concept cars are usually developed from scratch, and only one or two copies may ever be made. In most instances they never even reach the showrooms. A lot of effort goes into producing a concept car. So exactly how much does it cost to build one?
That's a difficult question to answer because there are many different kinds of concept cars. Some are scale models -- so small they can sit in a display case. Others are big enough to look realistic at auto shows, but don't have a working engine. And a few can actually drive around the block and at least give the impression to onlookers that they operate like a genuine production model.
The process by which a concept car is produced usually begins with a series of drawings, starting with rough sketches and progressing to detailed blueprints -- often created on computer. Traditionally, the next step is to model the car in industrial plasticine, more commonly referred to as modeling clay, which can be molded into shape, then hardened, painted and shellacked to look like an operational vehicle (which many concept cars are not). Although scale-model concept vehicles may cost less than $100,000 to produce, the cost of developing a full-sized clay concept car for a major automaker is generally greater than $100,000 and can be as high as $300,000 or more, with much of this money going to pay the salaries of the highly skilled designers and modelers who often put in weeks or months on the project. Since this full-sized model may be the culmination of a process of producing smaller models for proof of concept, the total cost may be even higher. With the development of computer numeric control (CNC) equipment, a computer aided design/computer aided manufacture (CAD/CAM) program can directly operate automated cutting machinery that can make a model out of clay, metal or fiberglass. This greatly speeds the process, without the need for human modelers to work with clay -- although many designers still feel that working clay by hand is necessary to achieve a precise design and to compensate for problems that are not necessarily obvious in the original computer model.
A non-working mock-up of a concept car is often adequate for display at auto shows and for publicity pictures. To make a concept car that can actually be driven, automakers will sometimes take the drivetrain from an existing car and insert it in the concept car, thus saving the expense of developing a custom drivetrain. Before the concept car (or, more likely, a vehicle that incorporates features borrowed from it) can go into actual production, a working production intent vehicle needs to be built -- and yes, that's expensive. However, a concept car mostly exists just to look good and provide photo opportunities, so minimal investment is necessary in the sort of mechanics and electronics that would make a real road worthy car.
The preceding article was from howitworks as a reference for comparison to my actual and forecast estimate to the prototype completion cost.
Completion Costs For The Concept Car & Prototype
Phase 1 Concept car exterior my current investment stands at $130,000.00
Phase 2 Concept car completion balance estimated at $130,000.00
Phase 3 This is where it really gets exciting .
The working prototype phase estimated at $215,000.00
That would bring the total estimated cost to complete the concept car development model,working proof of concept prototype and production molds to $ 475,000.00
To prove and bring the point home with the greatest impact, the prototype could be built and powered by a high tech front drive aluminum V6 with the performance potential and fantastic fuel mileage as indicated in the comparison chart on my design page.I feel this car would live up to the name and classification of the Zoleco Eco Exotic Super Car!
With the design architecture and platform proven, the kit would be produced from the molds and made available to suit whatever drive system your imagination deems appropriate
My love for the automobile has driven my hands on, down to earth ,science and nature based development process .My creativity is only hindered by my funding limitations.I have somehow been blessed (thanks mom...Jolanka) with a creative and curious mind that is empowered by the accumulation of knowledge and its application to the automotive landscape.
My determination to complete my vision and purpose for the Zoleco project is the powerful driving force that enabled me to wade through the difficulties encountered during a number of years leading to this point.
There is still a books worth of work ahead of me to reach fruition and my personal finances have been stretched further than I ever thought possible.I have sold off most everything of any significant value just to get to the stage I am at now. For this reason I am looking to partner with someone that is not financially overburdened and can envision the great satisfaction that would come from the completion of the Zoleco prototype and therefore proving the importance of this type of design to increasing range and reducing energy consumption! With the prototype completed and marketed in the appropriate fashion, ROI would be quick to follow.The most feasible way of introducing this car to market with a modest funding approach is as a body/chassis kit. My research on kit cars show a beautiful niche for the concept to get a leg hold in the market. Just imagine the paradigm shift that an ultra efficient vehicle in the super car market could cause! People with the appropriate skill set could hand assemble their own means of personal transportation using the drive system of their choice and roll a car out of their garage that usually only millionaires can afford, but without the dark cloud of energy gluttony looming overhead!!
There are many automotive related wonders in the world that awe and inspire people beyond belief. George Barris, rest his soul, had many Hollywood inspired creations that are indeed priceless or close to it. The Batmobile for example was purchased by an inspired collector for somewhere around 4 million dollars. Consider yourself patted on the back George! I am sure there are untold fortunes that have been invested in the preservation of automotive history and that is a good thing.It is this rich history that has inspired my view of the automobile and led me on this purposeful journey to build the Zoleco .
I am always open to creative ideas for ways to fund the next stage of this project................
This could be a wonderful possibility brought to light by an inspired, motivated enthusiast.Of coarse this type of gifting is extremely rare and can only come to light though personal motivation equaling that which inspired the project in the first place.
I am currently researching the feasibility of funding the completion phases of this grassroots project with the support of the online audience ; that way the true purpose and goal is not clouded by corporate red tape and is allowed full artistic creative license to achieve the dream. Stay tuned for an update on this process.This does have its own costs associated with it,such as a % going to the crowd funding site.