good research materials on the subject of electric cars, 3d modeling and/or entrepreneurship?
July 20, 2009 2:40 PM   Subscribe

good research materials on the subject of electric cars, 3d modeling and/or entrepreneurship?

my boyfriend is the son of a mechanic and dreams of starting his own electric car company (not for the everyday consumer, more like higher end sports cars). he does a lot of online research. he's very intelligent and relatively knowledgeable about cars, engineering, etc. when he gets that dreamy look in his eye and starts rambling about the technical specifics i usually don't understand a word he says. his feelings were hurt initially because i was skeptical about the project. he has viable ideas, but he's more of an archetype of a creative genius/professor than a pragmatic businessman. but i do think that his business has potential.

his birthday's coming up relatively soon, and i'd like to help him by getting him some books and magazines on related subjects.

some things i can think of that i could possibly get him reading materials about:

- electric cars in general. manufacturing processes, the market overall, engineering of them, etc.

- 3d modeling. he's mentioned that he plans on acquiring dual lcd monitors, a 3d scanner and whatever else he needs to make clay models. i don't want to buy him any of that stuff (not that i could afford it anyway) because i'm sure he's very specific in what he wants/doesn't want and probably already has his software of choice picked out. but if there are good books or magazines for a beginner, that could be useful.

i'd much rather have him rent or share a workstation somewhere here in seattle than invest a bunch of money in equipment, but he's weirdly paranoid about using public workstations and the slight possibility of his designs getting disseminated without his knowledge. i really doubt that would happen but haven't been able to successfully talk him out of his paranoia. i'd really like to find local people doing it that would be willing to talk to him about it so he doesn't accidentally buy something crappy, but if there's a consumer reports type magazine that covers related products that could potentially help.

- starting a business, specifically the economic aspects (licensing, getting funding, attracting investors, patent laws and copyright laws, etc.) i do sales/marketing for a voip company currently. although it's not my passion in life and i plan on switching careers, i think i can help advise him on marketing, networking and related topics. but i know nothing about starting a business... i've always worked for other people's small/midsize companies.

also, if anyone happens to know about related college or non-credit programs in seattle, that'd be of interest too. he's currently a programmer making a good living but he never finished his bachelor's. he preferred teaching himself. although he's generally good at self-education, i really feel like it'd be helpful for him to get hands-on experience with 3d modelling, advice from someone knowledgeable on the subject etc. while i don't think you need a degree in business to start one, i've also seen several friends start small businesses that were great ideas that failed miserably. my outside opinion is that they failed in part due to lack of sufficent research/knowledge.

i also feel the need to include a rambling offtopic paragraph about how i <3 metafilter. i work full time and go to school full time so i don't have much time to spend here, but it inspires me that there are still little pockets online where intelligent people communicate in a usually-respectful way. i'm sad that there was no seattle meetup and i didn't have time to organize one myself.
posted by groovinkim to Work & Money (4 answers total)
This will be my first post using links so here it goes:

I am a member of this team and we are competing in the automotive xprize. The US department of energy has a good site to start on here. I have a lot more on my system at home but I am on the road right now. Feel free to send me a MeMail if you would like me to send you some more documentation. Be prepared for lots of paperwork and problems with licensing and insurance because electric cars are still new and they don't fit in the current predefined categories for cars. My experience is based mostly in Canada so YMMV.
posted by troll on a pony at 3:29 PM on July 20, 2009

For the 3D models I would start by using a service like this or this before spending money on 3D scanners/modellers. As for an engineering workstation you can build one using off the shelf parts for about 2K including dual monitors. Most gaming rigs would work as a workstation for small to medium sized assemblies if that is an option. After he has worked with his program of choice for a while he can decide if he needs to upgrade to a full workstation or not.
posted by troll on a pony at 3:37 PM on July 20, 2009

The four steps of epiphany. They say you definitely need this book if you are a wannabe-entrepreneur.
posted by tvjoshi at 5:35 PM on July 20, 2009

Response by poster:
thank you!

troll on a pony, oh how i wish i could convince him not to go out and buy all the stuff. but he's very paranoid about using any machine/service that could potentially have access to the data. it's to the point where he plans on never having the machines he's going to use connected to the net in any way. i'm very skeptical about the realistic risk factor but haven't been able to talk him out of it.
posted by groovinkim at 1:43 PM on July 21, 2009

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