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It's not quite 310 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), but even at 245 MPGe, the Edison2 eVLC is certainly one of the most efficient vehicles to have ever completed EPA-accredited tests.

That's right, in tests conducted at Roush Laboratories, the electric version of the X-Prize-winning Edison2 prototype Very Light Car (eVLC) returned a shocking 245 MPGe using the EPA-derived 5-cycle testing method. Compare that to 99 MPGe for the Nissan Leaf.

No less impressive, in the same EPA-accredited tests, the four-passenger eVLC returned 114 miles of range on its small, 10.5-kWh battery and completely recharged in six hours from an ordinary 110-volt household outlet. If all plug-ins were this efficient, a widespread charging infrastructure would not be required.

Having beaten physics, the biggest hurdle for the Edison2 crew still lies ahead: convincing the world that its extremely lightweight (1,031 pounds) eVLC is safe to drive on public roads. So far, computer simulations show that meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards is within the eVLC's reach, but actual crash testing, which is scheduled to begin in late 2011, will officially determine whether or not the eVLC's ride crumbles or remains intact. Click here for more details on the Edison2 eVLC.
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Edison2's Electric Very Light Car achieves 350 MPGe

A new standard is set in automobile efficiency


(Lynchburg, VA – October 10, 2011) – In EPA accredited tests last week, Edison2's prototype electric Very Light Car (eVLC) dramatically raised the bar on automotive efficiency. The eVLC delivered 352 MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline energy equivalent) in the EPA City cycle and 347 MPGe Highway cycle, for a stunning 350 MPGe combined.

Just as impressive, in the same tests the 4-passenger eVLC demonstrated 114 mile range on only a 10.5 kWh battery.

Edison2's breakthrough automotive architecture last year won them the $5,000,000 Automotive X PRIZE, and the core design features are further developed and enhanced in the eVLC. "Our ability to deliver light weight and low drag means the Very Light Car simply takes little energy to move" said Chief of Design Ron Mathis. "This makes electric cars viable."

Redefining efficiency has far-reaching implications, according to Edison2 CEO Oliver Kuttner. "Our electric car will completely recharge in less than 7 hours from any ordinary 110V outlet" he said. "The eVLC removes the need for massive investment in charging infrastructure and minimizes range anxiety". In fact, after running the range tests at Roush Laboratories, it took only 6 hours to fully recharge on a 110V, 20 amp circuit.

EPA test standards are the most stringent in the world, using demanding city and highway drive cycles. Recently they have become even tougher with three additional drive cycles factoring in air conditioning use, cold temperatures and aggressive driving. Using this EPA derived 5-cycle method, the eVLC scored a still amazing 245 MPGe (compared to 99 MPGe for the Nissan Leaf) and a range 10% greater than the Leaf while using a battery only 40% the size. "This result is consistent with what we have observed over and over with the VLC: a 2½ to 3 fold improvement in performance by using our platform, regardless of power-train," said Kuttner.

The achievements of the eVLC and the winning of the Mainstream Class of the X PRIZE stem from the fundamental principles of automobile efficiency: light weight and low aerodynamic drag. With the Very Light Car claiming the lowest drag ever recorded for a 4-passenger vehicle at the GM Aero Lab (cd=0.160) and a weight of 1,140 lb with an electric drive, the eVLC embodies these two absolute virtues. The result is a car that needs only 5.3 horsepower to cruise at 60 mph.

The next challenge for the racing-based Edison2 team, which boasts a combined 20 victories at Le Mans, Sebring and Daytona, is to prove that a low-mass car can be a safe car. Using insights and experience from racing is the key, says Kuttner. "We use an architecture that allows us to manage impact forces differently. Our car is shaped like a diamond, with wheels outside the chassis, not just for aerodynamics but also for safety". Ongoing industry standard computer simulations indeed show that meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards is within reach, with actual crash testing scheduled to begin later this year.

Notes: The 352 MPGe, 350 MPGe, and 337 MPGe numbers come from running EPA drive cycles and using the EPA approved MPGe conversion of 33.7 kWh to equal one gallon of gasoline. In order to be comparative with all X PRIZE MPGe measurements, the fuel economy was calculated based on the total energy consumption from plug to wheels.

At Roush Laboratories, it took 5 hours, 58 minutes to fully recharge after the Urban Range test, and only 6 hours, 1 minute to recharge after the highway.

Beginning in 2012, all EPA tested vehicles will have to actually be driven through the 5-cycle fuel economy test. Allowing for an adoption period, all EPA window sticker fuel economy claims between 2008 and 2011 have used a 5-cycle derived method to calculate fuel consumption numbers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      brotherkenny4
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like the "where's DF" comments. It does seem like his dream car. I would like this car too, but I live in america, where it's okay to drive a motorcycle without a helmut but not a light car that hasn't been crash tested. I don't really care about crash testing. Is there some waiver I can sign that says I can drive what I want as long as I don't sue the car companies. Maybe there is a waiver that says I can live a free life as long as I don't try to overthrow the status quo. Seriously, where is there any freedom of choice. My friend Al used to say "Yes, your free, free to choose the car you drive to work". However, even this sarcastic take on the only freedom the americans actually get is not true.
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Who can fit into an Edison2 VLC? A picture of Neil Young sitting in the Edison2 VLC. http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/149844_496035831132_255167146132_7705968_6754453_n.jpg
      Jim1961
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know this thread is old but I feel compelled to respond to your comment, Tysto. What makes you think the Edison2 has a "vast loss of interior space"? Have you ever sat in this car? I have. I'm 6'2" tall and 230 lbs. I did not feel cramped at all. The person seated in the car in the picture above is Oliver Kuttner, owner of Edison2. Oliver is 6'4" tall. Believe it or not, it seats four full sized adults comfortably. Edison2 could not have won the mainstream class of the Automotive X Prize without seating for four people. By the way, Edison2 was the only team still in the competition for the finals of X Prize mainstream class. Edison2 were the only team that entered cars in all three classes of the Automotive X Prize. The Edison2 VLC also had the lowest CO2 emissions in the competition. The Edison2 achieved 1.18 Gs in skidpad testing. The braking distance was on par with world-class sports cars.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Awesome, now put it in production and sell it for a reasonable price. The smaller battery pack should help with reducing costs. It could be the ipod of electric vehicles.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Now they have to figure out how to get it to pass crash tests and other car regulations. Do it!
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Keep in mind the Edison2 team is composed of experienced race car builders. Energy absorbing crumple zones were invented and perfected in auto racing long before the technology was adapted for production cars.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          Glad to hear it. I believe it can be done. But there are going to be ones that are tricky . . . like the bumper requirements (imposed by insurance companies to save them money).
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        ...exactly.
      HVH20
      • 3 Years Ago
      Congrats guys! -Your battery supplier
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Edison2 has received a letter of intent from Eckhaus Fleet to purchase a significant number of cars. According to Oliver Kuttner, "... This first signed order is more cars than Tesla has sold in its existence. And there are more orders coming..."
        super390
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Another possibility is selling a de-rated version of this car as an NEV in states where they're allowed to go 35 mph. Yeah, it's a waste, but you will certainly not have to recharge very often cruising around at 35.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/edison2-x-prize-winner-claims-350-m-p-g-equivalent-for-prototype/
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        The LOI isn't to buy the eVLC, it's to license the technology to use in a meter-maid vehicle. "Instead, Edison2 hopes to license its technology. Mr. Kuttner said that he had a letter of intent from a California-based company, Eckhaus Fleet, that wanted to produce electric meter-maid vehicles with 140-mile range using Edison2’s proprietary technology."
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        How can they have orders to buy a car that doesn't really exist? You can't legally drive that Edison 2 on US streets w/o some special permit like a dealer/manufacturer plate.
      James Barrios
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not sure why people are so amazed when these type of vehicles come back with such high mpg or mpge numbers. There super light, tiny missile shaped vehicles. Unfortunately, these are not viable shapes for a mainstream vehicle and don't have the capacities for US buyers (Their gear or body shapes!). If GM can make the Volt under 3,000 pounds (from it porky 3,700+) it would be a great car. I understand batteries are heavy, but I'm sure down the road with newer tech that batteries will be lighter or more powerful per cell and we can get the weight down.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @James Barrios
        What we are amazed at is that GM, Ford, Honda or some other auto company hasn't created a small aerodynamic car since the EV1. It doesn't have to as extreme as this car, but it can be done. And there are plenty of people with body shapes like me that could fit in it. And even increasing the size to fit 4/5 people and gear wouldn't be too hard.
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          EV1 was in fact very aerodynamic. According to Wikipedia EV1 has Cd of 0.19 while Edison2 VLC has 0.16, so difference isn't that huge. What is huge is weight difference. VLC is what the name says: Very Light, a bit over 1000lbs, while EV1 weights about 3000lbs. That is what makes the extreme mpge figure possible. Rolling resistance is major factor on mpg in all less than highway speeds, at city more than half of normal car losses comes from that, and in highways it still is at least 1/3. Weight is main contributing factor in rolling resistance.
          super390
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          The big companies beat everyone else on price by sharing parts and assembly lines between models. Unit bodies, steel construction, and gasoline engines dictate a lot of similarity between models. The car you describe will not be like anything else in the company's lineup. The Insight and CR-Z, for instance, are probably about as far as Honda can go from its regular sedans. Now if we change the way cars are assembled, so that, for instance, a tall city microcar and a low-slung small aerodynamic car can share production facilities, it gets easier to swallow the massive investment required. Aluminum and composites at least offer hopes in this regard.
      mchlrus1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tesla VS Edison VS Westinghouse the battle of the century... except Westinghouse no longer has an electric car. I have seen an actual Westinghouse before, it was pretty cool, very Spartan though.
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mchlrus1
        Tesla worked at Westinghouse, and his family has nothing to do with the car company of today that bears his surname. Oddly enough, George Westinghouse's company over the years got totally out of creating anything except television shows (CBS), and all of the companies that carry his surname have nothing to do with the company he founded, Westinghouse Electric. Edison's company is the only only left standing as a creator of anything tangible and it doesn't even bear his name (GE).
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          Westinghouse still manufactures electronics in the form of computer monitors and other computer peripherals. They also still manufacture electric motors, motor controllers, and a myriad of other electrical and electronic systems. They merged with Teco a while back. Look up Teco-Westinghouse, and you'll find quite a bit. It's almost all industrial stuff, though. Very little consumer equipment.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      When will they publish some shots of the interior?
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        It is not a real car at this point . . . it probably has zero creature comforts right now.
          Smith Jim
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          This is a reply to Letstakeawalk. Here is an article that has a video which shows the interior of the Edison2 VLC. http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/12/a-tour-around-the-x-prize-winning-edison2-very-light-car-video/
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Thanks!
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          I'd just like a sense of scale and layout, that's all.
      super390
      • 3 Years Ago
      Do you realize that if this battery pack had instead used the newest Panasonic batteries for the Tesla Model S, it would weigh 40 kilograms?
      Tysto
      • 3 Years Ago
      I find it hard to believe that this is so much slipperier than a Prius or Leaf that it's worth the vast loss of interior space. This should have been designed with a single rear wheel, saving more weight and improving the aero even more. Then it would qualify as a motorcycle and not have to worry about crash tests, because that's all it could replace.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tysto
        3 wheelers usually have worse aero, actually. In a 4 wheel car, the wheels in the front break the air for the wheels behind them. In a 3 wheeler, all wheels effect aerodynamic drag. And motorcycles aerodynamics are terrible; They just overcome it with power/wt ratio.
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