Consumer prototype first drive!

 CBS Detroit 

Edison2 Unveils New Super-MPG Car At The Henry Ford

DEARBORN — Finally, a 21st Century car that really looks like it came from the 21st Century.

The venue was appropriate. The Henry Ford is a shrine to American innovation, and the Edison2 is packed with innovation from stem to stern.


PROGRESS REPORT - 2013 week 12

Edison2’s Lynchburg experimental prototype shop conducted a planned series of checks following our early testing of VLC 4.0 chassis number 18. This very thorough inspection after 143 miles’ running to date has produced no unpleasant surprises.

Driver comments and feedback are encouraging and match expectations given the car’s present build. This finding allows us to make development decisions with good confidence. In short, knowledge of the new car, its performance and operation is accumulating rapidly.

Meanwhile, work in the machine shop continues on development parts for future testing and assessment. As they become available, these new parts will be sequenced into the program for proper evaluation.

Edison2 community outreach continued this week. Visits included a party from Central Virginia Community college whose machine shop trainees are already working on production evaluation parts for our future cars.

On April 11 we are unveiling the consumer production prototype at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Preparations are well under way for this exciting event featuring the vehicle we’re currently testing and inspecting. 


Edison2 consumer prototype on the ground for successful first drive!

There are few prouder moments for an automotive team and CEO than the day a car touches the ground and comes to life. Ever since our 2010 Automotive X-Prize victory, Edison2's indefatigable team of talented engineers, designers and craftsmen have thrown all they have into reaching this milestone of a fully operational chassis.
This moment belongs to them, and who better to tell the story than Chief of Design, Ron Mathis, seen here giving a thumbs up with founder and CEO, Oliver Kuttner, behind the wheel. Hold on Ron, that car can corner!

PROGRESS REPORT – 2013 Week 9 - 2/27/2013

A good week. The first VLC 4.0 rolling chassis stood on its wheels this Monday and has gained favourable responses for all who have seen and sat in it. In the hands of our founder, Oliver Kuttner, chassis #018 was driven for the first time today.

 An extensive test program is being planned and will be under way in the next few days but early impressions gained in the Lynchburg shop parking lot are favourable. The car drives particularly smoothly and has already demonstrated much improved refinement from the competition cars. 

It was gratifying that first-estimate spring and damper settings yielded excellent ride quality over rough blacktop. Suspension anti pitch vector action met design expectations and permitted full acceleration and hard use of the powerful new brakes while maintaining a nearly level attitude. This is an additional step forwards from the X-Prize cars. 

From the absence of harshness transmitted to the main frame, the isolation function of the new compliant axle beam mounts appears successful. Although it is too early to say whether the mounts’ stability enhancement function is working as hoped, it is already fair to say they cause no harm. 

While of course work remains to be done and matters arising will continue to emerge, a post-running inspection has turned up no problems worth the name. This is an encouraging start indeed for an entirely new car. 

Next steps include beginning a ride, handling, motor control and regen strategy scan.




#1 in our new series: "CO2...This is important."


Welcome to the first in a series about the EPA's new CO2 regulations. Our first entry is a compelling overview and expose of powerful new regulations the media is not covering. In the coming months we'll explore why these regulations matter. And we'll reveal, innovation by innovation, why Edison2's game-changing solutions are the best fit for this regulatory vision of an efficient, planet-friendly transportation future. Please join the conversation and enjoy our new series!

CO2...This is important.

#1. Overview

Many are not aware of this, but the United States had two Super Bowls in February 2012: The first, Giants vs. Patriots, lasted three hours. The Giants prevailed. The second, 100 industry giants and fifteen states vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lasted two days. This epic showdown combined twenty-six appeals from a deep bench of lawyers over ten pages long. [1]

The giants did not prevail. In June 2012, the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from mobile sources – the cars we drive – was upheld by the DC Court of Appeals. On October 15, the EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued their joint final rule. [2] In short, mobile source CO2 regulation, AKA The Tailpipe Rule, is here to stay.   

Starting in 2017, if automakers fail to meet EPA limits for CO2 emissions four years in a row, the EPA now has the power to make it illegal for manufacturers to sell their vehicles with the highest CO2 tailpipe emissions. [3] [4] In other words, the heaviest, sportiest, most luxurious vehicles – iconic brands like Mercedes 500, Camaro SS and Range Rover – could be banned from entering commerce in the United States. [5] 

In 2009, a presidential memorandum directed the EPA to coordinate with NHTSA on CO2 and MPG requirements. This convergence of regulation was created to help the United States address oil consumption and climate change. [6]

What this means is automakers are now in a regulatory vice that closes more each year; CO2 limits get lower and MPG requirements get higher, and the rate of change is increasing. MPG requirements that went up 9.5 MPG in 31 years [7] will now shoot up twice that amount in less than half the time. [8] This is the 2025, 54.5 MPG requirement the media is covering.    

What isn’t being covered are the new CO2 limits and EPA’s power to remove cars from commerce. Automakers taking this threat seriously are scrambling for solutions in technologies they or their partners own. The EPA combined these technologies into 47,000 unique packages and ran analysis to determine which were most effective at reducing vehicle CO2 emissions. [9]

There are two problems with this approach: physics and cost. The decades-old chassis and suspension design (architecture) in our modern cars is inefficient and heavy. As efficiency requirements go up, physics makes it increasingly difficult to meet those requirements with incremental solutions, and automakers end up throwing significant capital at inefficient architecture. Stacking incremental technologies like advanced downsized turbo diesel and gasoline engines, gasoline direct-injection and start-stop, and eventually more effective but pricy Plug-in and electric drivetrains and batteries, exotic materials and more onto legacy starts to resemble lipstick on a pig - expensive lipstick.

If automakers succeed in complying without addressing inefficient architecture, the lipstick-on-a-pig approach could make cars bought by average consumers expensive enough to create real problems. [10] Affordable cars could shrink to unsafe sizes; consumers could shun compliance cars in favor of cheaper gasoline-only cars or pre-regulation cars; CO2 compliance would fail as a result; and the EPA would ban well-known vehicles. Some of this near-future exists today in the low sales of high-tech compliant cars and the new automakers who are either struggling or extinct. 

The silver lining to this is scattered throughout the EPA/NHTSA final rule, studies that show Edison2's credo of lower mass and lower aerodynamic drag is effective, and affordable. [11] [12] [13]

Together, Edison2's patented in-wheel suspension and new chassis design offer a true leap in automotive efficiency and a viable solution to the regulatory vice. Our vehicle is compliant beyond 2025 regulations today, and is designed from the ground up to be economically feasible for automakers and consumers. This is because our platform innovations enable expensive drivetrains, batteries, components, total vehicle parts and material input to be downsized to cost-efficient levels. We accomplish this without costly, exotic materials, and without sacrificing the performance, ride, safety and handling that consumers are accustomed to. Efficient architecture makes all the difference.

Rapidly implementing solutions like Edison2's is critical if automakers hope to create affordable, desirable passenger vehicles that keep pace with increasingly stringent CO2 and MPG requirements.


Reference help: The links beside EPA/NHTSA require copy/pasting the link into a new window and take up to 10 seconds to load the page and cue to the correct paragraph. Clicking or right-clicking opens the page, but it can cue to the wrong paragraph. 

[1] USCA Case #09-1322

[2] EPA Regulations and Standards: Light Duty

[3] EPA/NHTSA final rule

[4] EPA/NHTSA final rule

[5] EPA/NHTSA final rule and

[6] Whitehouse press release

[7] NHTSA “Summary of Fuel Economy Performance” (PDF download, pg 3)

[8] Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

[9] EPA/NHTSA Final Rule

[10] NADA study, pg 5, paragraph 2

[11] EPA/NHTSA Final Rule, phase 2 Toyota Venza mass reduction study

[12] EPA/NHTSA Final Rule, conclusions of current mass reduction studies

[13] EPA/NHTSA Final Rule, see bottom of CO2 reducing technologies chart WR20% = 20% weight reduction, Aero2 = aerodynamic treatments


Pieces Off the Machine

One of the fun bits of engineering is when parts you’ve designed change from existing only in your mind and on the CAD screen into real, tangible pieces. Recently the first of our new front suspension links arrived in Edison2’s engineering office.

These links are part of our patented in-wheel suspension and they control and constrain the movement of the wheels as they go up and down over the bumps in the road. They’ve been very thoroughly considered and analyzed and they incorporate everything we learned with our early cars.

If you know machine shop methods, you’ll see straight away these parts are milled from aluminium plate. That’s not economically viable for a production car but – and this is the significant thing - they have been designed to resemble forgings. Forging is absolutely a volume production method and so these new parts represent a step along the road towards being able to buy a Very Light Car.


Edison2, Local Motors & Siemens: The VLC Design Challenge

Since introducing the electric Very Light Car almost a year ago, Edison2 has been quietly busy designing a dramatic new version of the Very Light Car, although work on the next generation VLC actually started before the ink was dry on our $5 million X Prize check. The updated Very Light Car is much more than just a pre-production version of the X Prize prototype.  It is a completely new vehicle, using the same underlying architecture and with the same virtues of efficiency that won us the X Prize.

Now we are collaborating with open source community Local Motors and Siemens PLM on an exciting design competition. Anyone can join the Local Motors community to create an aerodynamic new door handle for the Next Generation VLC, using Siemens Solid Edge Design1, part of the software suite used at Edison2. The competition begins August 1, and the submission deadline is August 12. As with their other design challenges, Local Motors provides a downloadable “ignition kit”, to give entrants the tools and assets needed to work on designs.

Our work on the Next Generation VLC actually started before the ink was dry on our $5 million X Prize check. The X Prize VLC was purpose-built to demonstrate the importance of platform efficiency ... and to win the competition.  

Designed to meet the letter of the rules, it is an uncompromising vision of light, aerodynamic efficiency. We knew that as we moved toward a production model we would make improvements.

The sleek new shape of the Next Generation VLC is an aerodynamic improvement over the angular X Prize design, helping to offset requirements such as bumpers and mirrors, while also improving driver visibility. Larger wheels allow more in-wheel suspension travel, improving ride quality. The interior will have simple but sophisticated fit-and-finish. With an eye towards eventual mass production, the chassis is now aluminum sheet metal instead of tubular steel.

Finally, getting into the VLC will be easy. The car will have a lower door sill, an improved door swing mechanism and, with the help of the Local Motors community and Siemens Solid Edge, an aerodynamic and effective door handle.