To many people, cars are a means of commuting, while to others, they are an expression of status and preferences. If you are among the latter group and feel that none of the options in the market satisfy your taste, you could create your car from scratch.
But building your car from scratch presents quite some challenges you may want to be aware of before starting. This guide highlights the most critical thing you need to know before you get started.
The first question on your mind about building your car from scratch is if it is legal. The answer to this question is yes, but only if you live in countries such as the US, Canada, India, and the UK.
In Canada, you can build any vehicle you want. This includes the normal cars, squads, excavators, motorcycles, farm tractors, bulldozers, planes, boats, and every other vehicle you can think of, including rockets.
However, you must meet the standards for road usage clearance and get certification from the relevant bodies to operate the vehicle in public spaces. These regulations may differ from region to region, so before you take your first step in building your car, you must familiarize yourself with all applicable laws.
Countries have different laws for what you can call a self-built car. In some countries, you must make some critical parts of the car yourself, for example, the car chassis, if you want to register a car as self-made.
If your concern is not having a car fit in the self-build category, you can outsource parts and expertise as long as they align with your idea. The best approach to this is buying a car kit, which is a collection of all the necessary parts for building a car.
Using a car kit is much easier as the parts are tested and proven, which can help increase the chances of having your car approved on public roads. If you want unique parts, you can work with a part manufacturer to have custom-made parts, which may come at a much higher price.
If you want to build a unique car, you will need to start by drawing your designs. When creating a design, you must ensure that you do not infringe on the industrial design rights of another car maker.
Designers with unique designs can get exclusive rights to their designs by registering them with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). If your car has significantly unique features, you may consider registering the design with CIPO.
Protecting your industrial design rights by registering it with CIPO allows you to enjoy 15 years of exclusive rights to use your car’s design. If you are building that car for the market, its unique design will be its identifier in the market which can help it stand out amongst other cars.
Insurance companies prefer working with car models that have been tried and tested. It’s possible to have the regulatory bodies certify your car for use on a public road but have insurers skeptical about its safety.
If insurers are skeptical, they may charge higher than normal insurance rates or have some insurers avoid offering coverage altogether. The best way to avoid insurer skepticism would be to work with the regulatory bodies at every step of the process and go beyond statutory requirements for self-made cars.
Building a car is not for everyone. While legal, not many people build their cars for the sheer complexity of the whole process.
But nothing should keep you from trying if you feel like it’s a challenge you may want to take on and you have the skills needed to accomplish it. However, you may want to consider the above mentioned facts before working on your first car design.