Edison2 Very Light Car, Progressive Automotive X-Prize winner.Enlarge Photo
The EPA's MPG equivalent (MPGe) ratings for electric cars aren't the simplest of things to understand, worked out through a series of different calculations.
When an electric car gets 350 MPGe to the more well-known 2012 Nissan Leaf's 99 MPGe rating though, you know it must be something special. That something special is the Edison2 electric car, first seen in non-electric form competing in the Automotive X-Prize.
You might not actually want to drive it but in EPA certified testing the Edison2 managed an equivalent of 347 miles per gallon in city driving and thanks to its ultra-aerodynamic shape, 352 MPGe highway. This equates to a range of 114 miles on its 10.5 kWh battery.
Also contributing to the Edison2's performance, known as the "Very Light Car" and powered by a 0.25-liter E85 ethanol engine at the X-Prize, is - perhaps not unexpectedly - a low weight of 1,140 pounds. The small battery helps, and also means a six hour recharge time on a standard 110-volt household outlet.
According to Consumer Reports, with the EPA's correction factors of cold weather, air conditioning use and higher highway speeds, the Edison2 could still achieve a 245 MPGe average.
The shape - ungainly to some - and covered wheels are there for the aerodynamic benefits and Edison2 is out to prove that aero and low weight are two key factors in improving the range of electric cars, as range cannot be increased on battery technology alone.
For the time being the Edison2's 350 MPGe is a record holder, but we're looking forward to the day when cars we want to drive are managing the same.