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Edison2 Unveils Next Iteration Of Very Light Car

 
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Edison2's Very Light Car

It seems like fairly recently that Edison2 walked away with the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, but it was actually back in 2010.

Since then, the company has been hard at work developing the latest version of its Very Light Car (VLC).

The name may not be imaginative but it is at least descriptive, and while Edison2 hasn't revealed the vehicle's exact weight (the original X PRIZE cars were under 1,000 pounds) the skeletal frame hints at a real featherweight design.

The styling has also moved on from Edison2's earlier designs. It's typical of many ultra-efficient vehicles in that its beauty (or lack thereof, depending on your viewpoint) stems entirely from its engineering.

A streamlined shape with out-board wheels and fenders is designed to slip through the air as cleanly as possible, yet still provide a necessarily wide footprint for stability.

Technologically it's as clever as you'd expect. One aspect Edison2 has improved is the car's suspension system, a novel in-wheel setup aimed at reducing weight, complexity and number of parts. The design can clearly be seen in the photos, with each spring and shock packaged into a space little bigger than the brake rotor.

The less-is-more ethos also ensures better handling and better packaging in the aerodynamic wheel spats. Edison2's Oliver Kuttner believes it could even replace the twist-beam layout in existing cars, popular for its low space requirements.

The Edison2 team actually wants to increase wheel size too, with a 19-inch design on narrow tires. The existing frame uses 17-inch wheels and as narrow tires as the company could find today.

As for power sources, that one is pretty much open--the original X PRIZE car used a tiny 0.25-liter single-cylinder engine running on E85, though a later prototype returned 350 MPGe on electric power. Its efficiency means a small 10.5 kWh battery pack is still enough for 114 miles of range.

According to Engadget, a competitive price of $20,000 is the target for VLC, which seems fair given the engineering involved and the potential efficiency.

Edison2 is serious about wanting to produce vehicles. That's something we've heard before--notably from Edison2's once-rival, the now defunct Aptera.

But on engineering alone the company is one to watch closely--and we'll be doing exactly that as further Very Light Car prototypes surface.

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Comments (12)
  1. I love the idea of the taller and narrower wheel design. Michelin and Bridgestone and possibly Pirelli are working on such designs. This really works for those of us interested in fuel efficiency AND looks. Currently the only truly fuel efficient way to go is with the LRR 15" tires. As manufacturers focus on LRR technology for 17"-19" tire sizes we will be able to have our cake and look good wearing it too!
     
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  2. Hopefully they won't lie about their wind drag CD this time. Taping all the gaps, removing things and covering the wheelwells in the wind tunnel tests is just bogus.

    Not sure where they came up with such a design as aerodynamically great as it's not. The skin friction and intersectional interference drag the wheels add is higher than if they had just put the wheels under the body.

    And there is no reason the rear wheels should be so far out.

    The labor needed to built it and the fact it has a steel frame/rollcage alone mean this can't be both very light and safe. Sadly they have a mold they could pop out a real all composite version that would weight much less and be much stronger.

    The 100wthr/mile while good, could be 20-40% better.
     
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  3. Hello Jerry. One of Edison2's early cars spent 8 hours in the wind tunnel at GM's aero lab in Warren, MI. They certified us at 0.160 Cd without, and I emphasise this, taped gaps and removing things. To our knowledge, this is the best ever CD for a 4 seats and luggage car.

    The reason we put the wheels in pods is because the wide track (70") is one of the contributory factors giving us very good roadholding indeed. The X-P cars scored highest in every single dynamic safety test. This would not be possible with the wheels under the fuselage.

    We competed in the X Prize at 830 lb with our steel frame E85 powered cars. This frame design peaked at 22g acceleration in a live IIHS 40% offset crash test, less than half ordinary cars rated "good.
     
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  4. Didn't all of E2s engines fail during testing?
     
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  5. What would Ralph Nader say about this rear engine car? Unsafe at any speed?
     
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  6. Who's Ralph Nader?

    Our X Prize cars scored highest in every single dynamic safety test in the competition.
     
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  7. The "in-hub" suspension is crazy looking. That is some real out of the box thinking by the team. Hope they get a drivable prototype running soon.
     
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  8. Nothing new John have a look at an old Isetta micro cars front suspension. Thinking outside the box has been going on for a long time.
     
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  9. John - It's already a fully driving chassis. Please pick up the April 15 edition of Auto Week. There's an article on this car, and you can read about the full flogging it received from the journalist (who races Corvettes) a short time after the VLC chassis had been completed and lowered to the ground.
     
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  10. These wheels cover won't work in potholes, they will get hurt and broken. Also in winter in the snow, it won't work either. Dust and mud will stick to these wheels covers as they are too tight. I would prefer more upward more distant smaller wheel covers like these open wheels in this picture.

    http://www.brp.com/en-ca/vehicles/can-am-roadsters
     
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  11. Everyone needs to give American innovation a chance to prove itself before judging. Can the car be designed, configured and set up for different road and driving conditions? Yes. Is it more flexible in that regard than a typical car? Very much so. Is only one possible design/configuration/setup being presented here? Yes. Give it time. And if you want, stay informed through the facebook updates.

    http://facebook.com/verylightcar
     
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  12. Looks like they learned one thing at the X-Prize Competition, copy Aptera.
     
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