Consumer prototype first drive!

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

Photos on Flickr
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Friday
Sep162011

The Shape of Things to Come

Audi Urban ConceptThe Frankfurt Auto Show debuted some concept cars of particular interest to us: the Audi Urban Concept, the VW NILS and the Opel RAKe.  These have more than a passing resemblance to our 2010 XPrize winning Very Light Car and our new electric VLC. Light weight and low aerodynamic drag are absolute virtues for auto efficiency, and we are pleased to have Audi, VW and Opel on this path with us. But while the similarities are readily apparent, the differences are important.

These cars are all very light. However, the Very Light Car carries 4 passengers (with 12 ft3 of luggage) while the Audi and Opel seat 2 and the VW only one. Also, the Very Light Car achieves its low weight through a new automotive architecture, not expensive exotic materials. It is predominately a steel and aluminum car. 

VW NILS

The Audi, VW, Opel and the VLC all have a streamlined fuselage with wheels external to the chassis. But the VLC is supremely aerodynamic, recording the lowest coefficient of drag ever seen for a 4-seat vehicle at the GM Aero Lab. It has less than half the drag (CdA) of a Toyota Prius. Our wheels are enclosed in pods because of aerodynamics, but by doing so, and with our compact suspension, we add crushable space for safety. VW asserts that its NILS concept will meet worldwide safety standards; so will the Edison2 Very Light Car. Computerized simulations at Roush show us already meeting some US standards, and we will begin actual crash testing in the upcoming months.

Edison2's approach results in unprecedented platform efficiency. The VLC requires only 5.3 hp to cruise at 60 mph. While any drivetrain benefits from this, it's particularly important for electric cars, allowing small battery packs, realistic range and charging times, and high MPGe.

Opel RAK

Although our 10 kWh eVLC has not yet undergone EPA-certified testing, our internal results (detailed previously on our blog) indicate greater range, shorter charging time and much better MPGe than the 24 kWh Nissan Leaf.

We believe the Very Light Car, the Audi Urban Concept, the Opel RAKe and the VW NILS Concept are the inevitable future of the automobile, in which efficiency is essential and weight and aerodynamics are taken seriously. This approach will not be limited to "urban vehicles", however, but will extend to all cars.

Here is a photo of our new eVLC prototype. The shape of things to come, perhaps?

 

 

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Reader Comments (6)

I also noticed the similarities with the VLC and these concept cars. It is always great to hear updates on the VLC. The world needs this technology.
John C. Briggs

September 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn C. Briggs

Keep your foot on the pedal guys. The established car builder can't seem to prevent themselves from compromising performance for perception of marketability even at the concept car stage. Another great post.

September 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert N.

Yeah guys, I'm with Robert on that. Just keep doing what you're doing. Those companies can't make it work for production. The Volkswagen L1, something from GM, Audi, and all of these other companies keep talking, and making little pretty possibilities, but all of them fall short on real world materials. Plus they lie about their efficiency which doesn't inspire much trust when they also talk about safety. One idea to consider for any future big conferences might be to make a radio controlled model. It's more difficult to make a model, but it's also much harder to fake it's innate values, than say a computer simulation. Something real that someone can see and touch can bring reality much closer to the skeptical person you are trying to enlighten. Of course video footage of a VLC in an "accident" I'm sure would also work very well for convincing. So how much fuel does a 5.3 hp engine burn I wonder? You know the first mini cooper had, I believe, a 13 hp engine. The opulence!

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbiologist111

In terms of design, Audi's concept car takes the cake for me. Let's just wait and see if it truly will be the benchmark for an all-new style of mobility.

October 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnne | Brochure

Style has been the problem. Auto companies have been building whatever sells, not what is most efficient. Ignorance rides roughshod over knowledge to placate the exotic dreams of plebeian Americans. When fantasy takes over reality, everyone can suffer: pollution, high energy prices, political extremism, etc.
Still, said style may work to our favor. These European prototypes together with the eVLC and VLCs preceding, may produce a new styling fad that will benefit mankind: res aerodynamicus. Here's hoping! If all autos were aerodynamic and efficient instead of stylish and 'beautiful', the USA could export oil again. Now wouldn't that be beautiful?
The Edison2 boys have been invited to the White House. That's good. Let us hope that those politico knuckleheads can see a good thing when they know it.

October 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBubba Nicholson

The above snaps of Very Light Cars are really cool to watch. All the above snaps are really very beautiful. I particularly like the designing of these beautiful cars. These are simply outstanding to watch.
Audi Urban, Volkswagen NILS and Opel RAK, all three light car models of three different brands are really awesome. I very much like the Volkswagen NILS.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRicky Clark

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