We've had a few looks at Edison2's Very Light Car (VLC) project including its gasoline-powered X-Prize winning incarnation, but today's EV looked a bit different. In an event at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, CEO and founder Oliver Kuttner showed off the latest version of the vehicle, this time unskinned -- while referencing similar body-less showcases of the Lamborghini Miura and Volkswagen Beetle -- to show off the innovative suspension that contributes greatly to the car's light weight. The in-wheel suspension units connect to single piece axles that bookend the car's chassis and feature fewer contact points than traditional car suspension designs. Kuttner claims this technique will also feed back into conventional car bodies, opening up more space and taking weight out of future vehicles. Check after the break for more details about what's changed and what's next for Edison2, or dive into the gallery to take a look for yourself.
Edison2 VLC at Henry Ford MuseumSee all photos
While downplaying the potential of hydrogen or hybrid power solutions to drive the cars of the near future, Kuttner promoted the VLC as a solution for domestic buyers as well as in markets like India and China.The aluminum-framed vehicle has a price target of about $20,000, and is capable of being powered by either an electric engine or two-stroke gas motor. This new version of the VLC increases the aerodynamic effectiveness seen in previous units while also improving interior space and aesthetics. It's also claimed that the body height can be raised or lowered, enough so that we could see an mini-SUV concept built on the technology. Currently, the restriction in height is due to a lack of larger skinny, low profile tires which will work with its design -- it's currently fitted with the skinniest 17-inch set available. Kuttner stated a 19-inch version recently demonstrated by Bridgestone would find its way onto future concepts once it's available.
We got behind the wheel of the demo unit and found it spacious enough, if as sparsely appointed as one would expect at this stage, and the 6'4" Kuttner similarly had no problem entering and exiting. He says expanding the cabin even further, and improving the backseat is currently in the plans for future revisions, as Edison2 seeks the regulatory approval necessary to get cars like this on the road. In response to a question from the reporters in attendance, he mentioned that while Edison2 will remain a technology company developing new innovations like this, he is "100% certain" it will build cars, possibly to satisfy the safety and regulatory necessities. Despite its unconventional design and fully exposed presentation, what we saw was enough to want to test out its claimed 150mph+ top speed (depending on the engine) as soon as possible.
Edison2 to Unveil New Very Light Car Architecture at The Henry Ford
April 11, 2013
Special Press Conference begins at 2pm inside Henry Ford Museum
(Dearborn, Mich. – April XX, 2013) –Edison2, the winners of the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, will unveil their latest Very Light Car (VLC) architecture on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at The Henry Ford. This special press conference will begin at 2 p.m. next to the organization's original winning VLC on display inside Henry Ford Museum's Driving America exhibit.
Since winning the Automotive X Prize in 2010, Edison2 has been hard at work designing the next VLC. The new VLC prototype utilizes the lessons learned from this prestigious competition while also addressing consumers' needs.
The key to the VLC's remarkable structural, dynamic and aerodynamic effectiveness is its unique modular architecture. The architecture gave birth to the world's most efficient four passenger vehicle, one of which now resides inside Henry Ford Museum's Driving America exhibit. Its core technologies, including patented in-wheel suspension have been applied to the new VLC prototype. The improved, more aerodynamic shape offers better interior space and enhanced aesthetics. Capable of local, low investment manufacture and with applications far beyond Edison2's fabulously efficient streamliners, the new VLC architecture has a promising future in domestic and international markets
"We are proud to unveil our new VLC architecture here at The Henry Ford, directly next to our history making X Prize VLC," Edison2's CEO and founder, Oliver Kuttner remarked. "The auto industry has been refining the same architecture for more than 50 years, and Edison2 has created a new path - a new way of building a car that has many environmental and economic benefits. Much of this relies on Edison2's in-wheel suspension which can be seen on the VLC prototype we will be displaying."
Oliver Kuttner, a Charlottesville, Virginia entrepreneur and lifelong auto enthusiast, founded Edison2 LLC in 2007. He assembled a top-tier team of racing and aerospace engineers, designers and mechanics for the X Prize competition. For Hi-res photos visit the Edison2 website www.edison2.com/for-media/.
About The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan is an internationally-recognized cultural destination where stories and artifacts from 300 years of America's history bring to life the accomplishments of ordinary and extraordinary individuals alike. A national historic landmark with five unique venues, unparalleled collections and world-class expertise, The Henry Ford is a force for fueling the spirit of American innovation and inspiring a 'can-do' culture. Nearly two million visitors annually experience its attractions: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre. A continually expanding array of content available online provides anytime, anywhere access. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates 485 students a year on the institution's campus. For more information please visit our website thehenryford.org.