Consumer Reports covered the Automotive X Prize competition
Edison2 Very Light Car
Edison2: Winner in the Mainstream category

Team name: Edison2
Location: Virginia
Car name: Very Light Car
Status: One alternative model (#96) has been eliminated for failure to meet minimum fuel economy requirement.

Who are they? Lead by European car dealer and racer Oliver Kuttner, Edison2 is a collection of car racing experts, Kuttner has pulled together talent from race car teams, motorsports technology firms, automakers, and the defense industry. There are eight full-time team members and about 52 associates, or consultants. For this competition, they have built four cars on the same platform. They have seating configurations, body materials, and engine tunes. One, a side-by-side two-seater, uses a steel body. The other three are wrapped in carbon fiber.

What they say will set them apart: The team plans to win by numbers. In addition to having four cars to quadruple its chances of making it through the competition, its most important numbers are weight and drag. The cars weigh less than 750 pounds and have a drag coefficient of 0.15, about half that of some of today’s best cars. The cars are powered by turbocharged 250-cc engines (two from Yamaha motorcycles, two of Edison’s own design) running on E85 ethanol. To dramatically reduce pumping losses from the internal combustion engines, the team uses exhaust gas recirculation to control engine power. The team has also patented a compact front suspension, which includes feather-weight 6-lb. wheels designed to act as force-absorbing collapsible elements in a crash. This innovation alone may be worth more than the $10 million XPrize.

Two identical Edison2 cars are the last vehicles remaining in the four-passenger Mainstream class after the Knockout phase of the competition. The Mainstream class by itself accounts for half the $10 million prize money, so if either of the cars passes all the tests in the Finals, the team stands to win $5 million. Of the four vehicles Edison2 entered, the steel-bodied side-by-side two-seat vehicle entered in the Alternative class, failed to meet the minimum 67 MPGe fuel-economy requirement for this round of competition. A third Edison2 car remains in the tandem Alternative class.

Class: Alternative, Mainstream
No. of wheels: Four
Passengers: Two or four
Drive type: Internal combustion engine (E85), rear-wheel-drive
Power source: Yamaha 250cc, 27-50 hp.

For more information, see the Edison team page on the X Prize website.

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