Consumer prototype first drive!

Working tirelessly since their X-Prize victory, Edison2 reaches a coveted milestone February 27, 2013. 

Photos on Flickr
Thursday
Sep122013

THE NEED FOR SPEED RECORDS

We’ve let slip recently that Edison2 is working to attempt at least one FIA World Speed Record with X Prize car #95. What are Speed Records and why do them?

Let’s start off with some background: The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) through a complex network of subsidiary and affiliated organizations, is the official governing body of motorsport and records worldwide. The FIA ultimately controls Formula 1, for instance. They’re the automotive equivalent of the International Olympic Committee. Anyone can organize a car competition without FIA sanctioning, just like anyone can have an athletics event without the IOC. But if you want to get the real medal, the one that counts, you have to do it right. And for us that means doing it under FIA oversight.

Richard Petty famously said the first car race took place shortly after the second car was built. He may well be right but in fact organized speed records predate organized races, and the first outright land speed record was set in 1898 by an electric car at 39.252 mph. The first record over 100 mph was set only 6 years later. It’s impressive to see how quickly automotive technology grew and improved: 200 mph was broken in 1927, 300 mph in 1935, and 400 in 1963, 50 years ago.

As cars for absolute land speed records became more and more specialized, the FIA realized it had a duty to promote the development of worthwhile cars for people to buy. They instituted a system of vehicle categories by engine type and size and created a series of records designed to demonstrate stamina as well as speed.

The FIA publishes a list of current record holders, and it’s clear some famous manufacturers – Porsche, Ferrari, MG, Fiat-Abarth, Mercedes, Ford, Subaru –  use record breaking as a way to establish and demonstrate their latest designs. Some of the names on these records are legends: Carroll Shelby, AJ Foyt, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Mickey Thompson and Stirling Moss.

The Edison2 X Prize VLC fits in FIA Category A-I-1 for supercharged reciprocating engine cars of less than 250cc. The records for this category range from 1⁄4 mile to 24 hours. On studying the current records, we feel we have the performance to take those we’re interested in. But it’s also clear the people who hold them now set standards that are difficult to beat. To rewrite history, to join the ranks of legends, to receive the “Olympic Medal” of an FIA record – these are a few of the many reasons we feel the need for a World Speed Record. 

Friday
Apr122013

PRESS RELEASE: EDISON2 UNVEILS NEW VERY LIGHT CAR ARCHITECTURE AT THE HENRY FORD MUSEUM 

(Dearborn, Mich. – April 12, 2013) –Edison2, the winners of the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, unveiled the their latest Very Light Car (VLC) inside Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit yesterday afternoon. 

After an introduction by Patricia Mooradian, The Henry Ford’s president, Oliver Kuttner spoke not only about Edison2’s achievements over the last 5 years, but also their mission to provide affordable, efficient, and sustainable transportation solutions. Illustrating the expected automotive landscape in 5 years, Oliver showed how the virtues of the VLC architecture could have huge implications on vehicle markets domestic and worldwide.

During the speech, a 10’x12’ banner depicting the new Edison VLC 4.0 vehicle in complete form was uncovered just before Kuttner and Mooradian unveiled the new Edison2 VLC rolling chassis staged in front of the banner. 

“This is disruptive technology,” Kuttner said, “This can change the entire industry. This can change the economies of nations, and my task today is to explain this to you.” Kuttner provided background on Edison2 and highlighted the challenges automakers face with new CO2 laws. “The industry is being asked to double it’s fuel efficiency – in one full development cycle. This is very difficult to do.” Kuttner emphasized what was required to win the Automotive X Prize: “Get the weight out – reduce aerodynamic drag,” a philosophy that automakers are now weaving into vehicle advertisements and specifications.

After the unveiling, Kuttner gave an overview of the vehicle, explaining the advantages of their new architecture and highlighting Edison2’s design focus on consumer needs – aesthetics, additional room, ease of entry/exit and more before moving onto its enabling technology: the suspension.

Kuttner’s primary focus was the Edison2 in-wheel suspension. “It starts from the suspension,” he said. He described how their patented suspension significantly reduces mass, complexity, parts count, and enables a long list of advantages, which include the opportunity to design safer, better handling, more aerodynamic vehicles with unprecedented efficiency. “We believe we can replace the twist beam suspension, even in existing cars…but it will take time.”

“In the end it’s all about efficiency,” Kuttner said, “and efficiency is all about cost.” He went into detail about economic advantages of the VLC architecture to global automakers and their consumers. He also described how reducing vehicle energy requirement is an important objective in meeting global reductions in GHG vehicle emissions, and managing energy challenges and costs worldwide. “This car opens up the possibility for a whole new type of car…in a much more responsible, sustainable way to the future.” 

Friday
Apr052013

PRESS RELEASE: Edison2 to unveil newest EV vehicle architecture April 11, Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI

Edison2 to Unveil New Very Light Car Architecture at The Henry Ford

April 11, 2013

Special Press Conference begins at 2pm inside Henry Ford Museum 

(Dearborn, Mich. – April 5, 2013) –Edison2, the winners of the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, will unveil their latest Very Light Car (VLC) architecture on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at The Henry Ford. This special press conference will begin at 2 p.m. next to the organization’s original winning VLC on display inside Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit. 

After their 2010 X Prize victory, Edison2 went to work designing the next VLC. The new prototype is designed to address to consumers' needs and incorporates lessons learned from the prestigious X Prize competition. 

Edison2's new VLC has remarkable handling, structural integrity and aerodynamics, made possible by its unique modular architecture. This architecture gave birth to the world’s most efficient four passenger vehicle, one of which now resides inside Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit. Many core technologies have been improved in new prototype, including a newly designed in-wheel suspension system, a more efficient aerodynamic shape with beautiful aesthetics and more interior space, and other refinements throughout the vehicle. Edison2's architecture has a promising future in domestic and international markets; it makes low investment, U.S. manufacture possible, and has applications in suspension and vehicle segments far beyond Edison2's current designs. 

“We are proud to unveil our new VLC architecture here at The Henry Ford, directly next to our history making X Prize VLC,” Edison2’s CEO and founder, Oliver Kuttner remarked. “The auto industry has been refining the same architecture for more than 50 years, and Edison2 has created a new path - a new way of building a car that has many environmental and economic benefits. Much of this relies on Edison2’s in-wheel suspension which can be seen on the VLC prototype we will be displaying.” 

Oliver Kuttner, a Charlottesville, Virginia entrepreneur and lifelong auto enthusiast, founded Edison2 LLC in 2007. He assembled a top-tier team of racing and aerospace engineers, designers and mechanics for the X Prize competition. For Hi-res photos visit the Edison2 website www.edison2.com/for-media/.

About Edison2

Edison2 combines sound physics with innovative design to produce workable and sustainable transportation solutions. They won the top prize ($5 million) in the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize with the Very Light Car (VLC), an unprecedented combination of light weight and low aerodynamic drag. Weighing 830 lbs and with a drag coefficient of 0.160 – lowest ever recorded at the GM Aero Lab for a 4 passenger car – the X Prize VLC achieved 110 MPGe (combined) and 129 MPGe (highway) at the X Prize, using a 250 cc internal combustion engine. In 2011, an all-electric VLC was rated at 350 MPGe in the EPA combined cycle, demonstrating the importance of platform efficiency. Since winning the X Prize, Edison2 has been working in their Lynchburg, Virginia facility on a stunning new version of the VLC. Although the next generation VLC uses the same architecture and virtues of efficiency that won Edison2 the X Prize, it is a completely new vehicle. It is designed to be capable of meeting regulatory requirements (beyond 2025 CO2 and MPG regulations), and will have production-car fit-and-finish, safety, comfort and handling at an affordable price. 

Tuesday
Apr022013

Edison2 on Impact Avoidance: Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Butterfly

It takes two to collide. But in official crash tests, only one vehicle is instrumented to measure impact forces and damage. What happens to the opposing car and the people inside it? 

In accidents, people are killed by acceleration forces and how they arrive. Edison2 is very serious about occupant protection. Serious enough that we created a new automobile architecture which reduces these fatal forces by deflecting their crash energy. We recently achieved exceptional results in an official Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 40% offset head-on crash test. In that crash, the human test dummy in our Very Light Car experienced less than half the acceleration forces imparted by conventional cars with crash test ratings of “good”.   

Because it’s designed to deflect crash energy, our VLC provided twice the protection in this IIHS test. Did we kill the dummies in the other car? That’s hard to answer with certainty because, as we said above, the opposing vehicle is not instrumented. 

In fact, there is no another vehicle. In 40% offset head-on crash tests, the “opposing vehicle” is a standardized target made of aluminum honeycomb. When crashed into, this target deforms in a way that realistically and repeatedly mimics how the “opposing vehicle” is damaged. In the IIHS test, this target is mounted on a concrete block weighing 1000 tons. The test car is driven into the target at 40 mph, and the results are recorded by very precise instrumentation. 

What isn’t recorded is what happens to the target, which for test purposes represents a real car with real people. But consider the evidence in our photograph: it shows two identical IIHS targets; the one on the left was hit by an ordinary compact car, the one on the right by a VLC. The difference is not subtle. The ordinary car absolutely slammed its opponent and the people inside it. In contrast, by deflecting away from the collision, the VLC protected its own occupants and, as our photo suggests, greatly reduced the impact suffered by people in the other car. 

The phrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was invented by American boxing legend Muhammad Ali. And like Ali himself, the record-breaking efficiency, exceptional handling and crash deflecting design of our Very Light Car means it too floats like a butterfly – in all the right ways. 

And if there’s an accident, the VLC does what the best conventional cars do, it protects the people inside. But it also provides a level of safety others can’t. These crash-test targets illustrate something unique to our VLC: it protects occupants without generating huge accelerations on the people in the opposing car. We float – and sting – like a butterfly. 

It’s less well known but Muhammad Ali also said: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”  At Edison2, we do our best to pay rent in advance. 

Saturday
Mar302013

PROGRESS REPORT - 2013 week 13

Happy Easter! This week the prototype shop and personnel focused on development for the V4.0 front axle assembly, concentrating specifically on sensitivity and feel.

With feedback from running to date in hand, we decided to change the steering rack from the Option 1 to Option 2 bearing configuration. This involved completely dismantling the rack to reconfigure the bearings. While inside the unit, we had the opportunity to inspect the primary components and were pleased to see that all operational signatures appeared good. In its new guise, the rack is back on chassis 18. 

In the light of a complete strip and inspection of the front suspension, revised ball bearing kingpin thrust washers have been incorporated in the new front axle build. Combined with the rack development work described above, the steering now displays a particularly smooth action. 

Further development includes new front wishbone carrier assembly pieces that are already on the car and the imminent availability of new front damper spring platforms. 

The rear suspension and driveline continues its gratifying absence of problems. With accumulating experience of Chassis 18’s electric motor characteristics, the decision has been made to make revised gearing available for test. New parts offering a 4.5% shorter overall ratio are now in process. 

Production questions continue to be explored with procurement work this week concentrating on the car’s roller bearing wheel hubs.