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Open-Source Cars: Why a Customized Drive Won’t Be Coming to You

he Tumanako project, open-source code for electric cars, is appealing to racing enthusiasts, but the do-it-yourself initiative won’t be coming to a dealer near you.

umanako’s project would make EV code free for anyone to use and improve upon, creating an automotive equal to Linux desktop and mobile software. By opening up code for a drive package and inverter for a 200 kilowatt induction motor, EV drivers would have the necessary software to customize their vehicles.

By opening up code to components of EVs, riders could adjust performance aspects like torque and speed, as well as create and customize personalized driving apps.

Philip Court, head of Tumanako, reasons, “People who are into electric vehicles like to be able to tweak them to make them faster and to be able to fix them themselves.”

Court, also the director of the New Zealand-based EV racing company Greenstage, acknowledges Tumanako remains “a bit of a niche market” for now, but he suggests the project may have applications outside of the racing scene as well.

“If you’ve got a high-powered electric vehicle and your son’s recently learned to drive and he wants to take his girlfriend to dinner,” Court said, “You wouldn’t leave it on the high-powered mode.”
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