15th April 2013
Edison2, the winners of the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, unveiled the their latest Very Light Car (VLC) inside Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit last week.
After an introduction by Patricia Mooradian, The Henry Ford’s president, Oliver Kuttner spoke about Edison2’s achievements over the last five years and their mission to provide affordable, efficient and sustainable transportation solutions. Illustrating the expected automotive landscape in the near future, Oliver showed how the virtues of the VLC architecture could have huge implications on vehicle markets domestic and worldwide.
During the speech, a 10’x12′ banner depicting the new Edison VLC 4.0 vehicle in complete form was uncovered just before Kuttner and Mooradian unveiled the new Edison2 VLC rolling chassis staged in front of the banner.
“This is disruptive technology,” Kuttner said, “This can change the entire industry. This can change the economies of nations, and my task today is to explain this to you.” Kuttner provided background on Edison2 and highlighted the challenges automakers face with new CO2 laws. “The industry is being asked to double its fuel efficiency – in one full development cycle. This is very difficult to do.” Kuttner emphasized what was required to win the Automotive X Prize: “Get the weight out – reduce aerodynamic drag,” a philosophy that automakers are now weaving into vehicle advertisements and specifications.
After the unveiling, Kuttner gave an overview of the vehicle, explaining the advantages of their new architecture and highlighting Edison2’s design focus on consumer needs – aesthetics, additional room, ease of entry/exit and more before moving onto its enabling technology: the suspension.
Kuttner’s primary focus was the Edison2 in-wheel suspension. “It starts from the suspension,” he said. He described how their patented suspension significantly reduces mass, complexity, parts count, and enables a long list of advantages, which include the opportunity to design safer, better handling, more aerodynamic vehicles with unprecedented efficiency. “We believe we can replace the twist beam suspension, even in existing cars…but it will take time.”
“In the end it’s all about efficiency,” Kuttner said, “and efficiency is all about cost.” He went into detail about economic advantages of the VLC architecture to global automakers and their consumers. He also described how reducing vehicle energy requirement is an important objective in meeting global reductions in GHG vehicle emissions, and managing energy challenges and costs worldwide. “This car opens up the possibility for a whole new type of car…in a much more responsible, sustainable way to the future.”