An innovative power and data network that replaces bulky analog wiring harnesses with fused branches for each power device is a key advanced technology of Iconic Motors' 2012 Iconic AC Roadster, an aluminum-bodied car with a hyperactive 6.8-L V8 engine producing more than 800 hp (597 kW) (estimated) at 7600 rpm and 660 lb·ft (895 N·m) at 5800 rpm.
Patented interconnect technology is used to distribute power and data on the same cable for each module on the roadster," said Jeff Seward, Chief Technology Officer for VEEDIMS LLC, the company that developed the Virtual Electrical Electronic Device Interface Management System (VEEDIMS). "This power distribution method means no fuses or power relays. The data transmission is 100% ethernet. A magnetic hydraulic circuit breaker—capable of handling fully rated loads at elevated temperatures—protects the primary inputs."
VEEDIMS is scalable and modular. "As an example, the production roadster's headlight module will have the power switching and control electronics embedded in its housing, so the entire system can be tested and replaced if necessary," said Seward.
An integral aspect of VEEDIMS is the ability to auto-configure modules.
"Every module has its own website and its own web server providing documentation and diagnostics," said Andrew Sargent, Senior Software Engineer at VEEDIMS. "Information can be accessed from the vehicle's network, so for a service technician, that makes it possible to obtain PDF schematics related to that specific module, bill of materials, as well as other information."
Key elements of VEEDIMS are a power network distribution module (Vpower); a power and data distributor (Vhub); a CAN-to-VEEDIMS interface (VCU); an operator interface node (Vswitch); a reconfigurable driver's touch panel (Vtouch); and a motor control module that also provides a web interface to the car for power operation of the gas cap, doors, and other accessories. A VEEDIMS instrument cluster module features gauges driven by stepper motors.
With a top speed in excess of 200 mph (322 km/h), the hand-built roadster is powered by a NASCAR-derived engine and a Tremec six-speed manual transmission. Space onboard is limited by an overall length of 150 in (3810 mm). Width at the widest point is 72 in (1829 mm), and the wheelbase is a snug 90 in (2286 mm).
"We are substantially shrinking the overall size of VEEDIMS and integrating electronic packaging with 3-D mechanical design tools to build the special shapes that will fit in the nooks and crannies of the vehicle," said Seward. "Much of the electronics placement in the pre-production chassis Iconic AC roadster was set up for demonstration purposes. But now that we have a clearer picture of the production requirements, the final packaging can be optimized."
Assembly of the roadster will take place in Livonia, MI, by Technosports. Automobile Metal Shaping developed and molded the aluminum body. The car's steel-tube chassis supports a carbon-fiber honeycomb monocoque driver/occupant cocoon that is bonded to the frame.
More than 175 h is needed for Ernie Elliott Industries' technicians to hand-assemble each naturally aspirated engine with a Ford-derived V8 block and cylinder heads. The fuel-injection system, throttle bodies, and the overall induction system are designed and built by Anhared Powertrain Components. Several parts, including the entire shifter mechanism made from 15-5 PH precipitation hardening martensitic stainless steel, are produced by Absolute Precision.
The first customer-ordered Iconic AC Roadster is slated for assembly in early 2011. Base price for the two-door is $475,000.