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Old 11-20-2012, 04:07 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Visit to Edison2 Facility

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.

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Old 11-20-2012, 06:32 PM   #32 (permalink)
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manometers

along with the manometer you might also check out the 'manometer-in-a gauge' Magnehelic,by Dwyer Instuments.
Along with a Pitot tube you can measure pressures and also double as an airspeed indicator (0-3-inches water column range is useful).
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:56 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Did they talk about the zero-scrub aspect of the front suspension? They mentioned at one point that a beam axle in a old pickup has the same capability. I found that interesting.

I'm picturing a 4-bar linkage with the 'kingpin' on it's diagonal. Is that even close?
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:21 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
Did they talk about the zero-scrub aspect of the front suspension? They mentioned at one point that a beam axle in a old pickup has the same capability. I found that interesting.

I'm picturing a 4-bar linkage with the 'kingpin' on it's diagonal. Is that even close?
No, he did not talk about that. I was a walk in visitor so they had no prepared presentation for me.

But, I think your speculation about the zero scrub is indeed correct. In its basic concept, the front geometry is similar to the old Morgan sliding pillar design in that there is no camber change on bump/rebound. There is the usual solid beam front axle with all the steering rotation and spring deflection taking place on the kingpin centerline. It is impossible to fully describe, and I don't think they would have encouraged pictures, but it is as I described. The king pin is very large, perhaps 4 inches, and it rotates within a large cylinder which is welded to the beam axle. The spring and shock are positioned inside the kingpin.

Quite an impressive design and I would encourage anyone within driving distance to go and see the cars. It is a fascinating excursion for those who love aerodynamics and mechanical engineering.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:02 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Here's a picture I took at the X-Prize Knockout Round:



Here is the all the photos I took there:

http://smg.beta.photobucket.com/user...l?sort=3&o=324
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:33 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Thanks for the pictures Neil. I enjoyed those.

It is clear that they have redesigned the front suspension. The suspension on the original X-Prize car was not available for inspection so I thought the current design to be the same, but they clearly are not. Though your picture of the suspension lacks in detail, I can tell by the spring and shock location that it is clearly different from the latest design. The front suspension still retains 0 scrub, which probably saves a few ounces of fuel, or in the case of the current car, a few watts

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Here's a picture I took at the X-Prize Knockout Round:



Here is the all the photos I took there:

Edison2 (#95 tandem) photo by NeilBlanchard | Photobucket
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:02 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Wish i could've been there, but i'm sure you made a great ambassador for us Jim!

Can you tell me more about this Neil? I like it, but i hope it's not a HPV.
DSC04228.jpg photo by NeilBlanchard | Photobucket
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:09 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I know nothing about that vehicle - that is a picture I found on the Internet.

I think at the time, they didn't want pictures taken of the front suspension. I thought I did have a more detailed view of it, but I could not locate it. My memory of it is that it is a pair of trailing arms linked together in a parallelogram. It is very compact and very light, has very good anti-roll - and it's raison d'Ítre is to allow the front wheel fairings to not have to move up and down, so they can have lower drag than if they did have to move up and down.

The rear suspension is also unique on the VLC. The design is "locked in" to a rear wheel drive; which is too bad because with an electric drivetrain this somewhat limits the amount of regenerative braking you can use.

I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the VLC v4 - the new aluminum frame, the battery pack location(s), how the new open front wheels and the totally fixed front wheel fairings (they used to pivot with the steering). I am totally happy that they are moving toward an electric drivetrain (with a serial hybrid genset optional?). The VLC v4 looks great, and the actual car will (probably) look even better than the models and renderings.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:29 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the VLC v4 - the new aluminum frame, the battery pack location(s), how the new open front wheels and the totally fixed front wheel fairings (they used to pivot with the steering). I am totally happy that they are moving toward an electric drivetrain (with a serial hybrid genset optional?). The VLC v4 looks great, and the actual car will (probably) look even better than the models and renderings.
Apparently the aluminum monicoque chassis I saw under construction was indeed the v4. I just jumped to the conclusion that it was to have the usual steerable wheel fairings. It is a wider car, with more interior room. The double wall construction looks very strong and the aluminum cross members are going to make for good crash intrusion protection.

It is a very interesting operation, but a bit difficult to figure out where they are going with it.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:28 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
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It is a very interesting operation, but a bit difficult to figure out where they are going with it.
That's usually the problem.
The breakthrough / award-winning design can't be commercialised, and the start-up company that made it, starts wandering, going into different design or concept directions, different powertrains, ....

And before they know it, it's game over.

I can only hope Edison will be different, but the signals I'm seeing aren't hopeful.

You gotta fix the design at some point, and build it.
Get in some cash, and work on the next design version while producing V1.

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