The Very Light Car
Edison2 pursues efficiency through the absolute virtues of low weight and low aerodynamic drag. Although for the X Prize we anticipated developing a hybrid or electric vehicle – hence our name, Edison2 – our studies on efficiency led us away from the significant added weight of batteries needed for an electric or hybrid drive to a one-cylinder, 250cc internal combustion engine fueled by E85. Since then we have also created an electric VLC, which at 350 MPGe set a new standard for 4 passenger electric car efficiency.
The Very Light Car is light because it is light. Components of the VLC have been evaluated for function and re-designed to be light yet strong. Parts can weigh as little as a tenth the weight of an equivalent part in a current vehicle. As individual components become lighter the suspension, for example, needs less mass, allowing the car to become lighter still.
The Very Light Car is simple. Feature creep – the evolution of items such as power seats or door locks from luxury options to standard features – has resulted in heavier vehicles needing more energy for propulsion. The simplicity of design of the Very Light Car means fewer components, less weight, greater efficiency and lower cost.
The Very Light Car is the most efficient auto platform ever built. Edison2’s innovations apply regardless of power source. The light chassis and aerodynamic body will make hybrid or electric cars much more efficient, helping solve problems of range and performance.
The Very Light Car draws on endurance auto racing for safety. Innovations that allow drivers to walk away from high-speed crashes, such as collapsible space not available in other cars and a shape that deflects rather engages on impact, enhance safety in our low-mass vehicle.
The Very Light Car is environmentally responsible. Using very little energy regardless of power source, the Very Light Car – a low-mass vehicle using mostly recyclable aluminum and steel – requires little energy in production and avoids scarce and hazardous materials.
Our approach to solving the United States’ energy dependence comes from looking at the big picture and not being distracted by the politically fashionable trends. A very light and aerodynamic car is more efficient than a heavier one with more drag, no matter what type of power source is used. Depending upon application, different types of power plants and drive trains have various costs and benefits. The Very Light Car is the platform of the future, eventually allowing for a choice of propulsion that fits the customer’s needs, preferences, and driving habits.