Edison2 Unveils 100 MPG VLC 4.0

5 years ago by Rob Scardino 9

Edison2 VLC 4.0 Front Quarter

Edison2 VLC 4.0 Front Quarter

Winning the Automotive X Prize requires the strong-mindedness to believe that sustainable transportation is possible and the dogged tenacity to prove it. Team Edison2, winners of the 2010 X Prize have accepted the challenge. On Friday, the team unveiled their most refined creation yet: the Very Light Car (VLC) 4.0.

Edison2 CEO, Oliver Kuttner believes designs like this one will revolutionize the automotive industry.

Edison2 VLC 4.0 Suspension

Edison2 VLC 4.0 Suspension

The catamaran-like shape contributes to a very low drag coefficient, but perhaps the most innovative feature of the car is hidden behind the rims. Each wheel houses a uniquely designed spring, strut and disc brake mechanism connected to one-piece axles at each end of the chassis. This approach significantly reduces weight and increases cabin volume over traditional designs, but requires large, skinny tires to accommodate all the parts.

The result of the low weight suspension and the aluminum frame employed by Edison2 is a car that’s  just 1,400 pounds. Kuttner believes that the VLC 4.0 could be powered by either an electric motor or a two stroke gas engine, either of which would be supremely efficient.

With a top speed of 150 mph, distinctive looks, and extraordinary fuel economy, this VLC would be appealing to some eco-conscious drivers, but there are a number of regulatory obstacles to overcome before a vehicle like this one hits the streets.

Kuttner is targeting a price point of $20,000 and says he believes the car could be sold in both the U.S. and abroad. If he’s right, rush hour will never look the same.

Sources: Consumer Reports, Wired, Engadget

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9 responses to "Edison2 Unveils 100 MPG VLC 4.0"

  1. Warren says:

    Yes! Today’s cars are the equivalent of a Galápagos tortoise propelled as fast as a shark, using mined fossil sunshine. Why can’t that work? 🙂

  2. This is very aggressive (and risky) of Edison2 to go for in-wheel suspension. This is a new design which is not in mass production yet, and will be tricky to make durable. I wonder if the ride will be very stiff unpleasant because of the very short suspension travel available.

    1. David Murray says:

      It may travel further than you think. It looks like the tire is designed to rotate on an off-center axis.

    2. Warren says:

      The suspension travel is dependent on the wheel diameter. The production version is expected to run the new narrow 19″ diameter wheels. The resulting eight inches of travel will be plenty on a 1,200 pound car.

    3. ELnrg says:

      I was actually very surprised when I rode in the 245 MPGe early electric prototype. It’s the architecture of the X Prize vehicle and has less suspension travel. That one was a bit stiff at parking lot speed, but once on the road, it totally smoothed out, felt like any other car.

      Pick up the April 15 version of Auto Week. That journalist drove this chassis really hard. Looking forward to reading about that test drive, albeit that drive was not long after car was assembled and on the ground for the first time.

      The lighter a car is, the less suspension travel it needs. Warren’s got the idea. Hit the facebook page for updates and more info http://facebook.com/verylightcar

    4. Ron Mathis says:

      The suspension on the car in the photos is designed for 17″ wheels and has about 5 1/2″ of travel – that’s not a small amount. We’re hoping the promised narrow 19″ tyres come out soon because we’ll be able to get about 8″ travel which is more than you’d ever need.

      Compared with our early cars, the new one now incorporates engineered compliant mounts between the axle beams and the frame which go a long way to improving ride quality.

      It’s not obvious from the photos but one of the points of our suspension is that it has zero lateral scrub. Because of that, when the wheel goes up and down over bumps, it’s not pulled laterally across the road. The difference is night and day – lateral scrub peels rubber off the tyre and acts as a brake; our wheels just change rotational speed locally, acting as a battery. Riding in the VLC opens your eyes because you’re suddenly aware of the absence of the coarseness that scrub brings.

      I wish you could try it to see for yourself.

  3. Suprise Cat says:

    Does this design follow pedestrian safety regulations? The front looks very leg breaking.

    1. ELnrg says:

      Bumper is regulation height. If you could between a 4000lb car hitting you and something less than 2000lbs, which would you choose, and what if the body panels on the one hitting you were plastic, and what if you were mostly deflected off the structure as Warren says below? All good things to think about. And…what if the Edison2 does less damage to what it hits as a result? Read here for more info: http://bit.ly/Z3DYPH and head over to the Facebook page for steady updates http://facebook.com/verylightcar

  4. Warren says:

    I’d guess you’d have a much better chance of surviving a bump from this, where you are more likely to slide over, than end up under an SUV.