Talk about a “beak” performer.
Automotive X-Prize champ Edison2 has unveiled the latest version of its super fuel efficient VLC, or Very Light Car, as the teardrop-shaped vehicle moves several steps closer to production.
The prototype VLC won the competition with a highway fuel economy of 129 mpg, thanks to an extremely aerodynamic body and a curb weight of under 1,000 pounds, which meant it could be powered by a 250cc single-cylinder engine, like a small motorcycle. An electric version later delivered the equivalent of 350 mpg.
The new car builds off of the template of the raw original and refines it with even slicker bodywork, the use of aluminum instead of steel for the frame, production intent lights and mirrors, a fully-finished four-seat interior, and a front nosecone/bumper combo that’s oddly avian in appearance.
One of the key innovations of the VLC is an in-wheel suspension system, which takes advantage of the space available inside the vehicle’s tall, skinny tires, and helps to further reduce weight and aerodynamic drag.
The Virginia-based company has yet to announce production plans, but has previously said it could potentially bring the VLC to market for as little as $20,000 per vehicle, assuming it can be engineered to meet motor vehicle safety regulations, or have them modified to accommodate it’s unique design.
Not quite a car, but with four wheels far from a motorcycle, the VLC remains an odd bird, indeed.