Motored down to Lynchburgh yesterday to take a tour of the Edison 2 facility. The folks there are quite friendly and open, so you can pretty much walk in, but it is probably best to call first.
The original car, the X-Prize entry was a space frame, carbon fiber spartan vehicle with very few creature comforts. It was powered by a motorcycle engine.
The engine in the original, which was available for viewing, was a highly modified turbocharged 250 single cylinder. It had 4 valves/cylinder and was water cooled. Lots of custom parts all over the engine, so looks like they did some serious dyno time to get it right.
They seem to be converting entirely to the electric approach. They currently have a very nicely finished out electric which the owner has tagged and is driving on the public roads. That must turn some heads
I'd love to have this one, even though it has a minor sore point. It has a tubular brace which runs from the rollover bar just behind the driver's head forward and down the length of the forward tilting canopy. I asked about it and according to the young fellow showing me around, it's function is primarily to add strength to the hinge area for the canopy. It doesn't appear in the next design.
The new car, which is under construction now is very sophisticated and looks to be very strong in side impact. It is of twin wall aluminum monococue construction, so there are thousands of rivet holding it all together. They have installed two very hefty looking aluminum cross members underneath both the front and back seats. These members also serve as covers for some of the required batteries.
Though there is testing of a new car profile which integrates the wheel fairings with the body, with a contoured joining section to present a more "bumper" like appearance to the front of the vehicle. On this model the steerable wheel fairings will be eliminated in favor of wheel cutouts. This is the version which appears on the their web sit with the pokey dot patterned wheel cover.
The mechanics of the front wheel suspension design is no longer being held so closely. My tour guide was willing to show it to me and discuss it at some length. Obviously, by now any number of visitors have seen it. As we have all noted, it is entirely contained within the wheel fairings. it is a sort of double jointed parallel link arrangement which steers about a huge "kingpin." The shock and the spring are contained in the middle of this "kingpin, which must measure a good 4 inches in diameter.
The young fellow who showed me around was very interest in the Honda Insight I drove, and was unfamiliar with it. He was so interested in the mods I had made that he went out to the parking lot to see the car and the mods. Non of the staff seems to know about the "sport" of hypermiling, which was a surprise in itself.
I was very grateful for the kindness and hospitality of the staff. They answered most of my questions, but of course a few items are still confidential. I was able to pick up some tips on a Manometer pressure measurement setup which I may try out myself, when the time permits.