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INTERVIEW: Edison2's Chief of Design Ron Mathis
Inhabitat: What technologies are holding you back? Battery technology, fuel, lightweight materials, or is a combination of a number of things?
Ron: That’s a difficult question to answer. GM never hid the magic carburetor that tripled gas mileage, and magnets that clip around the fuel line to align the ions (so the infomercial said) don’t work either. 100mpge and 200 mile range and 4 seats and acceptable performance is an extraordinarily difficult task and there’s a reason Edison2 is the only entrant left in the Mainstream class. Also, we took the X-Prize requirement to design for production capability seriously and have a car which can be made economically with low investment. We are very pleased that we have achieved this with good design and regular, everyday materials – steel tube for example – and do not rely on bleeding edge technology and exotic, expensive materials.
Inhabitat: What do you think car companies can learn from you and the whole competition? What technology or system will car companies actually take and utilize after the competition is done?
Ron: To our pleasure the best of them are already learning it: light weight and good aerodynamics are the only absolute virtues for economy and efficiency. To apply them well, we’ve had to invent some neat stuff like our in-the-wheel suspension systems. We think some of what we have done will find a lot of applications.
Inhabitat: The prize money certainly can’t be the main reason you’re building these cars. What’s motivating you? And what do you hope to accomplish when it’s all done?
Ron: For me personally, after messing about with very fast cars for 30 years, this is like the beginning of the second act of my life. It’s so cool to be involved with Edison2 and work on something that might do a bit of good for the world. I hope we can continue what we have started here.
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