In my last post I introduced Edison2, a company that designs and builds high efficiency, low environmental impact cars – cars they’re convinced will change the world. Edison2’s Very Light Car (VLC), designed using Solid Edge, won the automotive X Prize in 2010. That competition was the catalyst that launched the company. So Edison2 really understands the power that competitions have to drive innovation. Today, in conjunction with Solid Edge and Local Motors, Edison2 launches a two-week design competition of their own, centered on their next generation vehicle, shown here (and revealed broadly to the public for the first time ever, today). Anyone can participate in this CAD competition for a chance to win $6,000 in prizes.
Edison2’s Chief of Design, Ron Mathis, describes the Edison2 workshop in Lynchburg Virginia as an idea factory, but he’s quick to add, “We don’t have a monopoly on good ideas.” He’s enthusiastic about this CAD competition and about CAD-enabled co-creation as it’s being realized at Local Motors, the host of the competition. He’s looking forward to reaching out to designers and engineers outside the company for fresh insights, especially those addressing non-core but critical design problems that he and the team have not yet solved. He also sees this as way to discover new engineering talent – and potential new hires for Edison2.
This design competition focuses on improving the door opening mechanism that was used on the competition car, a design that Ron says is functional, but “very inelegant.” The current design (see photo) features a flush-mounted button that requires the operator to reach behind the door with his or her thumb to pull it open. Ron is looking for something much more, well…elegant. Although he’s hesitant to be too prescriptive in laying out a solution for the mechanism, he emphasizes that the design should satisfy the following key requirements:
“it should be aerodynamic, presenting no disruptions to air flow, lightweight, inexpensive, and instinctive and delightful for the people using it.”
The following video provides more information on the design challenge, and includes Ron illustrating the action and drawbacks of the existing door mechanism:
All participants in the Edison2 challenge will use Solid Edge to create their designs. Local Motors has made a free trial of Solid Edge Design1 available for the duration of the competition. The free download is available at www.localmotors.com/design1
With all participants working in professional 3D CAD, this competition breaks new ground for Local Motors. CEO Jay Rogers says
“This project with Edison2 is really a great advancement for us and the community at Local Motors. We’re…reaching [new] levels of engagement in the community and capability of the designed parts.”
In addition to Solid Edge Design1, Local Motors offers all versions of Solid Edge on a subscription basis via its online store.
Here’s a quick summary of the design challenge, provided by Edison2:
Because of its advanced, streamlined shape, the Edison2 VLC requires an uncommon door design which opens first out, then swings up. The door will be counterbalanced but will not have power assist.
We would like you to design a door handle which allows the driver to easily open and swing up the door prior to ingress and to swing down and close the door after egress. Thus, the handle must be rigid to pull and lift to open the door, and to bring down and push to close it. And, it wants to do this while being as light and aerodynamic as possible. Lastly, the door handle you design must operate our latch.
Your door handle and mechanism should be designed such that:
- The external part(s) minimally disturb the air
- The design of the handle fits with the rest of the vehicle’s aesthetics
- The mechanism is designed to be as light weight as possible
- The design must be able to functionally release the door latch and interface with an interior door handle
- The door handle must be able to be operated by 50th percentile females to 95th percentile males
And here are some more specifics on this Local Motors competition:
Start Date – Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Submission Deadline – Sunday, August 12, 2012
Winner Announced – Thursday, August 23, 2012
- First prize: $2,500 USD
- Second prize: $2,000 USD
- Third prize: $1,500 USD
Participants must use Solid Edge. Local Motors is offering a free trial of Solid Edge Design1 for the duration of the challenge. Solid Edge Design1 can now be downloaded free at www.localmotors.com/design1
Best of luck to all who accept the challenge!
John Fox is VP of Marketing for Siemens PLM Software and is responsible for global marketing of Solid Edge and Velocity Series products. You can connect with John on Twitter @JohnHFox and LinkedIn.