Consumer prototype first drive!

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

Photos on Flickr

Safety By Design

Edison2 takes safety very seriously.

Safety is designed into the Very Light Car. In auto racing it is commonplace for accidents to occur at very high speeds with the driver walking away; Edison2 incorporates many innovations from racing into the Very Light Car. A strong steel cage encompasses the passenger compartment. Unlike the rectangular shape of contemporary cars, the diamond shape of the VLC deflects forces on impact, instead of engaging – the most common collisions become indirect. Also, additional collapsible space for impact absorption is designed into the Very Light Car, by having the wheels outside of the frame, for example.

Safety is also enhanced by the nimbleness of the Very Light Car: many accidents are simply avoided. Stopping distances and swerving ability are improved by the low mass of the VLC. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the New Yorker, bigger is not necessarily better for safety; rate of driver death by vehicle type is higher for some SUVs than some compacts. In addition, with a low-mass vehicle, single-car accidents and accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists are less serious.

With careful design a low-mass car can be safe even in this era of heavy, feature-laden cars. But Edison2 sees a future in which all cars, for reasons of economy and environmental sustainability, become lighter and sleeker, and automotive safety is dramatically improved.