Consumer prototype first drive!

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

Photos on Flickr
Wednesday
May112011

A Few Questions

When can I buy a Very Light Car? This a question we are asked just about every day. We love everyone’s enthusiasm, but the answer is we simply don’t know. We are very hard at work on the next generation VLC, one that is roomier, friendlier, more stylish and with proven safety.  Three years? Maybe. But we consider ourselves to be “car first”: get the design and performance right and the rest will follow.

But one thing we are clear on: we are not going into the car manufacturing business. We know that we are experienced and competent at design, engineering, building and testing. But we have no experience whatsoever in manufacturing tens of thousands or even more of something, not to mention marketing and distributing. We will partner with or license our ideas to others with the experience we lack to bring the VLC to market.

How much will it cost?  We don’t know the answer to this one, either, but we know it will be affordable. It must be affordable: we cannot solve the problems of oil addiction or CO2 emissions with $40,000 or $50,000 cars. Design simplicity, mainstream materials and low-mass mean this will be a less than $20 thousand car…maybe significantly less.

Is there interest from large OEM’s?  Yes, lots.  But for reasons deeply embedded in their methods it is difficult for OEM's to quickly adopt our technology.  It is not “plug and play” with current legacy based vehicles. A new car from Ford or GM or Volkswagon reflects millions of dollars invested in things like suspensions, brakes, and drive-trains. Our car is a ground-up design – it is so light that it no longer requires a heavy suspension, or brakes, or a powerful engine, and in fact it uses no parts at all that come from other cars. Our approach just does not fit neatly into current business models.  Because we are "favored by physics" we feel it is certain at least some of our ideas will find their way into future cars.

How about a kit? We haven’t ruled out the idea of a kit as a learning vehicle, which would be an affordable, quick way to see some VLCs on the road. It may depend on how many people would be interested in a kit, so if you are, let us know!

Tuesday
May032011

Outside the Comfort Zone

If there’s a way to measure the reach of Edison2’s message, the number and quality of our invitations might be it. In growing numbers people want to hear about what we have done and where we are going, and see the Very Light Car for themselves.

Colleges, high schools, technology councils, auto shows, museums, Rotary clubs: the list is long, varied, and we think impressive. Conferences of all types: energy, automotive, environmental, engineering. Presentations to groups ranging from honors classes at Charlottesville High School to the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt to the National Academy of Engineering to an upcoming panel at the Commonwealth Club of California.

This week we visit NASA’s Langley Research Center, the Virginia Air and Space Museum, and Washington and Lee University.

This will be the third time we have spoken at a NASA event; in October we were invited to the Aviation Unleashed conference, and in March to the Goddard Space Flight Center (not to mention we were featured in an award-winning NASA 360 video last fall). It is an honor to see the genuine interest of NASA experts and we greatly appreciate this opportunity.

In fact we very much enjoy all of our engagements. Our message – that the future of transportation lies in the fundamental principles of light weight and low aerodynamic drag – may have appeal in part because it challenges many people’s comfort zone. We don’t rely on magic batteries or bleeding edge materials and we absolutely do not rely on fuzzy energy accounting. Edison2 has built a simple car, for 4 passengers and their luggage, that happens to be the most efficient the world has ever seen. It looks different because to get this type of efficiency, it has to.

Our website now has an events page, with a front-page link. We hope you can come hear us sometime, and maybe see the VLC for yourself.

Wednesday
Apr272011

Prepping for the Wind Tunnel

Over the last few months, Edsion2 has released photos of the different models we have made to explore design ideas. Behind their visual differences, our models have one important thing in common: they’re all made to the same 25% scale.

The bigger you make a model, the better the results you get from the wind tunnel, up to a point. Wind tunnels have walls and the proximity of those walls to a model becomes significant to your readings if you put in a model that’s too big. For our model work, we’ll be using Virginia Tech’s 6ft x 6ft tunnel and we’ve chosen 25% scale models to keep the blockage ratio at about 3%.

Virginia Tech’s tunnel has a 600 horsepower fan (photo below) that can blow the test section at up to 180mph. At that speed, mounting even a 25% model needs to be taken seriously so last week a delegation from Edison2 visited the tunnel to agree on a plan of action with the tunnel’s personnel.

We have the tunnel booked beginning May 16th and a very thorough series of tests planned. It’s going to be a busy time between now and then in the experimental shop getting our model installation ready to go.

Wednesday
Apr132011

It's Official

Our Virginia Manufacturer’s plates have arrived at the shop. Edison2 is now officially a car manufacturer.

Monday
Feb282011

Sweet Briar College

Recently Sweet Briar College’s engineering seniors visited our shop to present their Preliminary Design Report on interior options for our Version 4 Very Light Car.

We were impressed with their capstone project: in a very thorough 22 page report, these smart and energetic young women presented 12 different seating layout options for review. With a neat numerical method, they had weighted and scored each layout’s attributes. Three favorites have emerged and work will continue on developing these ideas.

But that’s not all.

Four very sharp Sweet Briar business students are completing their capstone by putting together a business plan focused on niche identification for the next generation Very Light Car. This study will incorporate a market analysis, competitive and environmental scans, focus groups, surveys and high-level financial projections under various sets of cost and demand assumptions. As a start these young women spent some time with the very light car at the DC Auto Show.

Sweet Briar’s Latin motto is Rosam quae meruit ferat, which translates as She who earns the rose may bear it. These students are earning their rose and we are appreciative of the efforts of Engineering Professor Bethany Brinkman and Business Professor Tom Scott in helping create this opportunity. Edison2 is proud to partner with this modern and forward-thinking college and see this as only the beginning.



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