On the heels of Audi unveiling its Urban Concept, Opel showing off its RAK e concept and Volkswagen pulling the sheets off its Nils concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Edison2 has revealed an electric version of the X-Prize-winning Very Light Car.

Called the eVLC, Edison2 says its electric concept packs a 10-kWh battery pack, is "supremely aerodynamic" and carries not one, not two, but four passengers in relative comfort. Edison2 says that its eVLC concept is far more efficient than a Nissan Leaf and, even though it has not yet undergone official EPA testing, the firm figures the eVLC has the makings to become the highest MPGe-rated vehicle ever. After the team won the X-Prize they hinted at developing similar vehicles that use "other power sources," and it looks like they're making good on that.

In eVLC, Edison 2 sees the "inevitable future of the automobile." Check out photos of the eVLC in our high-res image gallery and let us know if you like what you see in Comments below. Look for us to post more info on the eVLC soon.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 65 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      The VLC is not just a light car. It is a new architectural system. Cars are complicated... Like all new systems they have to be developed and that is what we do first. We are car first. For the car to work, as opposed to every other green car we have to develop new parts... new control arms, new shock absorbers, new steering racks, new types of seats, etc. There is no cv joint and no universal joint in the driveline for example to safe friction.... People say they want a solution and yet when someone comes with a idea that may just prove to be the beginning of a solution they criticize the absence of an abs pump. I have news for you there is an abs pump and traction control in the VLC. There are many firms that know how to design and build to need an airbag or an HVAC system... The VLC chassis weighs less than 100 lbs and it does let the dummy live at 40 G deceleration in the 35 mph barrier crash.... That is a good number and the chassis is cheap because it is made of steel. We differ in opinion that the future of carbon chassis green vehicles is not mainstream and this knowledge comes from almost 20 years of dealing with carbon chassis cars... It is not yet pretty... that is not the point. making a car pretty or suit different people's that is a known art... Once you have the numbers that is when you start to make the compromises... until then we develop the method of how to do a very efficient car... that is the art that is not known... The VLC will find its first market in the "developing world because there the minds are more open and the regulations are less constrained. Developing a car is a huge task and it is not realitic to expect Edison2 to do this to usa standards following a new method and in a few years... A BMW 3 series has been refined since I am a child... that is part of why it is good. Evolution is a great way to bring about a nice product. Jim Smith is right the VLC (especially the new one) seats tall people better than a VW Jetta and has more luggage space... It just does not look like it... Well if you asked anyone 20 years ago if they wanted an i phone they would have told you no because they would have thought it would not work because it was so small and different.... The reason it works is because it is different.... In time the VLC will prove to be the father of most new cars the same way the Morris mini is the father of most cars of today... The mother company Austin no longer exists... With Edison2 it remains to be seen but we are trying hard to deliver solutions... The laws of physics are relentless but they are stable. Be patient we are busy doing the hard bit... it is just not so obvious. Efficiency in the platform is the "lowest hanging fruit" no doubt and it does open a whole new automotive segment.... Today no new car is built like a 1960 Chevrolet... this took time. But the cars of today do more for less and are safer.... .
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      You can fit 4 people and 10kWH into that? 4 pygmy humans?
        Neil Blanchard
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Yep, Oliver Kuttner is 6'-4" same as me and yes we fit. ~108-110Wh/mile is impressive. Neil
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        The VLC interior room is bigger than it looks from the outside. I'm 6'2" and 230 pounds and it was adequate for me.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          Getting on person into the VLC is one thing . . . get FOUR people into this one is another.
          Smith Jim
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          The front passenger seat is identical to the driver's seat so I assume I would fit there too. I did not get into the back seat but Edison2's owner, Oliver Kuttner is about my size and he required that he could sit in the back seat comfortably. You'll have to trust me on this, the VLC is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      How to put this kindly. Hmmm... Oliver Kuttner, Ron Mathis and the rest of the team at Edison2 are to be be congratulated for an excellent exercise in engineering experimentation on specialist vehicle. Well done! However, for those of you who imagine that this little vehicle could be profitably put into mass production and achieve volume sales, I have question. On what planet? Very few, not even enthusiasts, would purchase such a vehicle.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        then how do you explain the 3000 reservations aptera got. how to put this kindly, you are not even mature enough to write under your real name
      LEONARD
      • 3 Years Ago
      man that tag has to be causing drag lol no one thought out that one love what these folks are doing but were is production ?? and the fit and finish could be better.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've seen a similar design before. There was a small company building something like this back in the 80's. 1. A link to the vehicle that probably inspired this one--> http://www.autocycles.org/ 2. This is funny --> http://www.autocycles.org/litestarbrochure.html
      Grendal
      • 3 Years Ago
      That license plate really helps the vehicle aerodynamics.
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        The shame of it is that many states require a license plate on the front also...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nafarias, True, there is greater energy density in gasoline. What is also true is that an ICE system is at best 28-30% efficient. While electric regeneration systems can be 80-90% efficient. Couple that with a CD (coefficient of drag) less than what is possible in the slipperiest ICE vehicle your comparison becomes thin. What is still being missed by the Environmentalists is total energy per life cycle. Raw materials mined in Canada, shipped to China to manufacture batteries, shipped to Japan and installed in Hybrids, which are shipped to American "Energy Zealots" who claim to be saving the planet. Generate more greenhouse gases than a comparable ICE vehicle over it's given life span. And how much does it cost to dispose of those dead batteries. Can they even be recycled? America cannot afford to subsidize technologies that yield 4 units of energy from three units in (Ethanol). Let the free market dictate the viability of an alternative energy. I'm still waiting for more information. Although I think Nafarias should dig a little deeper into his argument against the eVLC, I think the market and time will be the best judge. David
        • 3 Years Ago
        Free market arguments are all welcome if you figure in all the carbon taxes needed to account for production, use, and disposal of each and every system. I won't be holding my breath for that sort of marketplace justice.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I had not overlooked the efficiency argument. I just didn't want to make a hundred-page comment. :) I know all about the arguments regarding well-to-wheel efficiency. The problem is that EVE advocates are ignoring a lot of practical realities. EVs can only achieve thier full efficency under rather artificial conditions. I've looked at all the math, and in reality the average EV really only gets about the same 25-30% efficiency an ICE gets once you factor in cargo, real world use, temperature, and so forth. For example, EVs lose about 20% of thier efficiency for every 10 degrees below 60 - which means for about 33% of the year they are LESS efficient than an ICE (unless you live someplace like Florida or Cali). EVs also lose about 10% efficiency for every 10 degrees above 70 - which means for another 33% of the year they are only somewhat more efficient than ICEs (longer if you live somewhere hot). EVs also lose efficiency on any surface other than a flat plane, which means they are only marginally more efficient than an ICE anywhere outside of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. I'm not even going to try to start in on what happens to efficiency when you load them with cargo, use the radio, use the heater, use the AC, or any of a hundred other real-world things that hit car efficiency every day. In an overall sense, yes the ICE is "less efficient"... In a lab setting... Under very specific conditions... However, take the cars into a real-world setting and the gap closes immensely (almost entirely as a factor of the EV getting worse). The best way to phrase it is to say that EVs can have "up to" 80% efficiency, but in most cases do not. However, an ICE's efficiency is very stable across many conditions. It comes down to an issue as to what is more 'real world' friendly... Do people prefer cars that can have 'up to' 80% efficiency, but that efficiency can radically drop depending on factors they can't control? Or do they prefer a car that has a very stable 20-25% efficiency at all times? In the end, I think folks will always prefer 'stable inefficiency' they can plan around over 'unstable efficiency' that they can't control.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like it; a lot of innovative, outside-the-box thinking that shows what can be accomplished when you don't adhere to convention. Admittedly, it's not the most attractive vehicle, but I'd buy one if I had the means! While it might not make it as a regular production vehicle, it could do well as a rolling kit car that you could drop your own drivetrain into, whether it be gasoline, diesel, or electric. Lots of possibilities here...
      • 3 Years Ago
      M'eh. Yet another concept car that will never actually become part of the practical, real-world marketplace. Unless they can get the thing to cost less than $20 grand it is only a pipe dream. Barring a battery technology breakthrough, EVs are no solution either. Gasoline contains 21.4 megajoules of energy per pound. A 12-gallon tank of gas weighs 72 pound and contains 1,540.8 megajoules of potential energy. The L-ion batteries in EVs cars have an energy density of 1.58 megajoules per pound. A 500 pound L-ion module contains 790 megajoules. You need 1,000 pounds of lithium to get the same available energy as a 70 pound tank of gas. The elephant in the EV room is the fact that any battery module (that can store enough energy to be practical for daily use) is going to weigh hundreds of pounds and cost thousands of dollars compared to two bucks for the 6 pounds of steel it takes to make an empty gas tank.
        Mr Hawk
        • 3 Years Ago
        You forgot to calculate into your equation what the steel tank is feeding... a big heavy cast iron or aluminum engine and transmission, as opposed to the heavy, but not as heavy electric motor and insome cases... no transmission. Just saying...
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mr Hawk
          The smaller, lighter car concept can be applied to an ICE, as this car is in fact doing as its initial effort. They themselves admitted it was not possible to meet the terms of the contest with an EV - and they said it was the weight of the batts that were a primary factor. I just don't see why we are trying to re-invent the wheel with EVs when ICEs work just fine. Just we we can say we're powering them without gasoline, while still using fossil to charge them up?
      Timo
      • 3 Years Ago
      That breaks so many laws set here that it wont be seen in roads unless you register it to something else than a car.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Timo
        Krisztiant, Where did you get the idea this car has no suspension? In fact, the fron suspension is unique enough that Edison2 has filed for a patent on the design. By the way, the wheels move up and down inside the wheel fairings but the fairings do not move up and down.
          krisztiant
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          Bottom line: Edison2 is a great achievement, however, for everyday adaptation it should change so much (law, convenience etc.) that it would be a completely different car.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Timo
        The car you see here is not what a production car would look like. This car is version 3.0. To get an idea of what version 4.0 wuld look like check out the following link. http://www.edison2.com/blog/2011/1/11/what-have-we-changed.html
          Smith Jim
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          Timo, I was told by the Edison2 team that the wide track was for improved handling. They figured if they could go faster through the turns they would use less energy accelerating out of the turns. The wide track and low mass of the vehicle resulted in a 1.18 G of lateral acceleration on a skid pad test.
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          Thanks Jim. That actually looks like a car that could be someday in the streets. It probably will stay as small niche car though, it is not very practical design. What bugs me most in these kind of "wheel pod" -designs is the fact that car is much wider than its passenger space, which means that if the passenger space is good enough that car is very large. Aptera has external dimensions of an Hummer, this does pretty much the same thing, only this is a bit more practical than Aptera thanks to four-passenger interior.
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          It probably does increase handling, F1 cars are also quite wide, but it doesn't make them practical. In my point of view that is just wasted space.
        krisztiant
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Timo
        Not only it breaks laws but it would break some necks too, since it has no suspension (at least in this very form).
          Smith Jim
          • 3 Years Ago
          @krisztiant
          One of the things Edison2 is working on for future versions is bigger wheels so there will be more suspension travel of the in-wheel suspension.
          krisztiant
          • 3 Years Ago
          @krisztiant
          In before someone says; it has a patent pending in-wheel suspension, but in an everyday scenario, it would be just scarce.
      • 3 Years Ago
      when you figure out ,how to "PRY" the American butts out of their 3 ton trucks and cars, because it looks like $3 to $4 fuel prices don't have any effect, some of these great new concepts might have a better chance at reality. That would really be Great.
      krisztiant
      • 3 Years Ago
      As Edison2 won the Automotive X-Prize Very Light Car category, we could almost safely guess, it is light, aerodynamic and "optimal". But... as I happened to click on the 'X-Prize-winning Very Light Car' link in the first paragraph (ABG. Sep 16th 2010), I had to learn that it IS NOT. In the comment section (link) a certain light car enthusiast (init. DF) explicitly says: Edison2 is "a suboptimal design". Although he agrees that "light and aerodynamic is the way to go", but "angers him that such an effective sum ($5 million) is given to such a suboptimal design", which even fails to "levitate silently". No kidding! Now his own words about what he would do with the prize ($5M): "...not only the right kind of cars that would change the world but probably warp drives. field propulsion... levitating cars. a conventionally flying car is trivial but actually silently levitating vehicles. material transmutation. teleportation. practical compact fusion..." Let us prepare for the silently levitating cars with warp drives featuring practical compact fusion while using field propulsion during material transmutation and teleportation.
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