Teams from Virginia, North Carolina and Switzerland have won the first Automotive X Prize, the $10 million competition to push the fuel-efficiency boundary with vehicles that achieve at least 100 miles per gallon or the energy equivalent. While two winners achieved the goal using electric motors, the top winner did it with an internal combustion engine.
The X PRIZE Foundation, an educational nonprofit, along Progressive Insurance, awarded $10 million Thursday to three teams —Edison2 of Lynchburg, Virginia; X-Tracer of Winterthur, Switzerland; and Li-ion Motors Corp. of Mooresville, North Carolina — from an original field of 111 competing teams, representing 136 vehicle entries from around the world. The winning vehicles were showcased to an audience of auto industry, business and government leaders.
Launched in 2008 to inspire a new generation of viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles for consumers, the X Prize guided teams through a vigorous 30 months of vehicle and business plan development, on-track testing at Michigan International Speedway, which included dynamic safety testing by partner Consumer Reports, and laboratory verification at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Lab.
$5 Million Mainstream Class Winner:
* Edison2 “Very Light Car #98” (Charlottesville, VA)
* Economy: 102.5 MPGe
* Fuel: E85 ethanol
This vehicle used a highly innovative small displacement engine in combination with its low weight of just 830 pounds to reduce engine displacement with a host of weight-saving innovations.
$2.5 Million Alternative Side-by-Side Class Winner:
* Li-ion Motors Corp, “Wave II” (Mooresville, NC)
* Economy: 187 MPGe
* Fuel: Battery Electric
This side-by-side two-seat battery electric car was built on a lightweight aluminum chassis and weighs in at 2,176 pounds, despite the weight of its heavy but powerful lithium ion batteries. The Wave II also demonstrated a 14.7s zero-to-60 mph acceleration time, and over 100 miles range over a real-world driving cycle.
$2.5 Million Alternative Tandem Class Winner:
* X-Tracer Team Switzerland “E-Tracer #79” (Winterthur, Switzerland)
* Economy: 205.3 MPGe
* Fuel: Battery Electric
With the passenger seated behind the driver in this vehicle, the E-Tracer combines the best of motorcycles and automobiles. This clever design has two extra outrigger wheels that deploy at low speed to stabilize the vehicle. At 1436 pounds, it can travel 100 miles on a single charge, with over 200 MPG, even while achieving a zero-to- 60 mph acceleration time of just 6.6 seconds.
While the prize has now been awarded, the journey continues for the winning teams. They will immediately begin leveraging their winning status, prize money and connections made over the course of the competition to try to move their vehicles into the consumer market. Under a U.S. Department of Energy-funded technical assistance program, competitors will also gain funding support for access to key automotive expertise and test facilities. The aim of the program is to assist teams in readying their vehicles and technologies for introduction to the market.
A one-hour documentary entitled, “X PRIZE Cars: Accelerating The Future” debuted last week on the National Geographic Channel. See some clips below…
WATCH the video, or find more information visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org.