Having driven both very large (12 pass Vans) and very small (Honda Civic 1300) I can say I always "felt safer" in the larger car. The Honda was tolaled in a 15MPH crash with a parked car (black ice - don't ask). It made me rethink my car choice given my normal highway speeds during communtes! I think that an ultra-light car could be both light and safe if designed properly, the proof is in the pudding (as they say) and I would want to see safety crash test results before I would consider buying one. Also, consider the "safety" of motorcycles verses a fully enclosed compartment, it has got to be safer by a wide margin. If the car has great mileage and handles well it will have a real market potential if it is low cost to boot. I would like to have seen cost and milage numbers for either the electric or gas powered version of this concept car.
This vehicle may not be highway-worthy in terms of the safety against the heavy SUVs crashing into it, but for the city traffic this may be an ideal fuel saver.
If this vehicle is allowed to use the car pool lanes, then this could be the most efficient way to commute to office .
Also I remember to have read somewhere somebody is also developing a flying car. This lightweight vehicle will help boost that concept also . In case a flying car is successful then the fear of crashing onto by some heavy SUVs can be just eliminated in my opinion
@p_g, I see the weight anxiety is not something easy to overcome. Edison2, meanwhile, is trying to minimize the concern by noting that "In auto racing it is commonplace for accidents to occur at very high speeds with the driver walking away." The company is trying to take the cue from that racing experience... Hmmm. Would that make you feel safer? I don't know.
@DeQuine Toyota Prius is also much light weight compared to other cars, but I doint see any safety concern or exceptional accidental injuries count. Yeah I would say there is stability concerns since car is light weight and can loose cntroll at high speed easier than other cars. Also if its high windy zone/snowy/slippery/wet road, weight of car do help in maintaining stability.
@DrQuine, in fact, Kutnner did talk about safety -- in terms of protecting drivers -- a lot.
Edison2 claims to incorporate many innovations from racing into the Very Light Car. The company says that a strong steel cage encompasses the passenger compartment. Unlike the rectangular shape of contemporary cars, the diamond shape of the VLC deflects forces on impact, instead of engaging – the most common collisions become indirect. Also, additional collapsible space for impact absorption is designed into the Very Light Car, by having the wheels outside of the frame, for example.
As a driver of a small Honda Civic Hybrid, my primary concern about SUV's is the risk that their unwieldy mass will crush the vehicle that I'm driving - hence my question about the new lightweight vehicles. Can the Edison2 lightweight vehicle offer the occupant protection required of other vehicles?
I certainly agree that the SUVs are at greater risk of causing accidents. I also continue to be baffled that SUVs not required to align their bumpers with all the other vehicles on the road. As it is, they often seem to hit high on the front hood and miss the impact absorbing safety systems on most cars. Regardless of whether they're "classed" as trucks or cars, they share the road with us and ought to be compatible.
Edison2 is responding to that commonly asked question by quoting a 2004 New Yorker article Malcolm Gladwell wrote as follows:
In Big and Bad: How the SUV ran over automobile safety, Gladwell shows that while an SUV may be safer if you run head-on into something ("passive safety"), the problem is the trouble a heavy vehicle has in accident avoidance ("active safety"), ie, swerving and stopping. As he says, "The beneﬁts of being nimble – of being in an automobile that's capable of staying out of trouble – are in many cases greater than the beneﬁts of being big."
It looks like great fun to ride in and the widely spaced wheels make for a stable vehicle. My only question relates to crash safety when the adjacent vehicles on the higway are gas guzzling SUVs. How lightweight can a vehicle be that still protects the occupants?