Guest Post by John Fox, VP of Marketing for Siemens PLM Software, Solid Edge and Velocity Series products
Edison2 designs and builds high efficiency, low environmental impact cars. Their innovative design approach enabled them to win the top prize in the 2010 automotive X Prize competition. Edison2’s proof of concept car, developed from the ground up specifically to win the competition, achieved greater than 100 MPGe and earned the company a $5 million prize. It was designed, like all of Edison2’s cars, using Solid Edge CAD software.
The Edison2 team has come a long way since winning the X Prize. I recently visited the Edison2 shop in Lynchburg Virginia and got a taste of the advances they’re making with their technology and with their business. (Matt Lombard, who blogs about product design and CAD at Dezignstuff, was there too and posted a nice article about his visit.). I also got a better sense of their vision, and it’s inspiring.
Oliver Kuttner, Edison2’s founder and CEO, says that after winning the X Prize and proving out their design approach, the team realized they had “a unique opportunity to change the world.” What’s so special about their approach? Edison2 pursues efficiency in every aspect of their mechanical design, and they refuse to compromise. The result is what they call the Very Light Car (VLC), a vehicle with unprecedented weight and aerodynamic specs, and unmatched efficiency regardless of the mode of power. For example, Edison2 indicates that the VLC has the best aerodynamic drag figures of any four seat car on the road today – by a wide margin.
As you can see, the car is unconventional looking. I even heard a passerby say, “I thought a spaceship just landed.” And it’s revolutionary in terms of design. Edison2 is essentially reinventing what a car can be and how it should be designed and manufactured. The team is well aware of the challenges they face by introducing disruptive technologies and methods, but they are convinced they are on the right path.
According to Chief of Design and industry veteran, Ron Mathis, “We are where the world will inevitably need to go. When gas hits $10 per gallon we will be the only game in town.”
You’ll get a sense of that vision and determination in the video clip below. Oliver Kuttner drove Matt and me to lunch in an early generation vehicle, and I kept the camera rolling during the ride. In the video, Oliver provides a running commentary, among other things laying out the economic case for super light, ultra efficient cars.
Back at the Edison2 shop I learned more about their current project, the fourth generation VLC. This one will introduce many refinements without sacrificing efficiency. The first conceptual designs of this car will be revealed in a new initiative that will launch this week – on Wednesday August 1st – a CAD competition involving Edison2, Siemens PLM Software’s Solid Edge and Local Motors. Attendees of Solid Edge University in Nashville already got a sneak peek of what’s in store with the competition. Here’s another teaser:
I’ll talk more about the competition in my next post.
We’ve written about Edison2 and Local Motors before on the Siemens PLM blog. Check out the following links:
- Edison2 Keynotes the Solid Edge ST4 event: (by Susan Cinadr)
- Introduction to Local Motors -Part 1 (by Mark Burhop)
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.