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