2011 was a very good year for Edison2.
Ron Mathis lectured on the Very Light Car at NASA Langley and the NASA Goddard Space Center. Brad delivered the keynote address at the worldwide launch of Siemens Solid Edge ST4. Oliver was as panelist in the Jefferson Innovation Summit, and spoke to the Society of Allied Weight Engineers and at the Automotive Weight Reduction Conference. The VLC visited the Detroit Auto Show, the DC Auto Show, the Louisville Auto Show and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and was accepted into the permanent collection of the Henry Ford Museum. Edison2 was written about in the New York Times and featured on CNN International.
But it was in the shop, on the track and in the test lab that the Very Light Car really shone in 2011.
Edison2 won the XPrize through extreme platform efficiency and in 2011 we demonstrated how important a light-weight, low aerodynamic drag car can be. We fitted a Smart Car driveline into a VLC, and the 41 mpg (EPA highway) Smart engine tested at 89 mpg as a VLC. It is a fast, fun, very efficient machine. Ron Cerven, who led Li-ion to an X Prize Alternative class victory with an electric 2-seater, joined Edison2 in 2011, and helped create an electric Very Light Car. As expected, an eVLC combines acceptable range (114 miles), short recharge time (<7 hours) and outstanding efficiency (350 MPGe) with a small battery pack (10.5 kWh).
We also began safety testing of the Very Light Car. We ran numerous crash simulations using industry-standard software, and in November conducted our first actual crash test. These all confirm what we know from racing, where it is not uncommon for drivers to walk away from very high-speed crashes: that with the right architecture a very light car can be a safe car.
And we made a lot of progress in 2011 on the design of the next version Very Light Car. This prototype will be a car with bumpers, mirrors, production fit and finish, and more interior space. Wind-tunnel tests at Virginia Tech showed that the next-version shape is even more slippery than the X Prize car, so bumpers etc can be added without sacrificing efficiency.
2011 was a very good year… but 2012 promises to be even better. Stay tuned.