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.
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.