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The Automotive X-Prize: We Have A Winner

Posted in Automotive Event, Cool Stuff, EcoLust, Electric Cars, Environment, Fuel-efficient, General, Newsworthy, Racing by Kurt Ernst | September 18th, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

Finalists at Michigan Speedway. Photo: Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize

Actually, we have three winners, one for each of the competition classes. The Mainstream class required a four wheeled vehicle capable of holding four passengers (with at least two sitting side by side), a range of 200 miles over a mix of city and highway driving, a zero to sixty time in under 15 seconds, lateral acceleration of .7 g or better and HVAC and audio systems. The Alternative side-by-side class required a vehicle with any number of wheels, two side by side passenger capacity, a range of 100 miles in combined city and highway driving, a zero to sixty time under 18 seconds, lateral acceleration of .7 g and no requirements for HVAC or audio. Finally, the Alternative tandem class had the same requirements, but specified a two passenger, in line (occupant behind the driver) vehicle configuration.

The Edison2 Very Light Car. Photo: Edison

The Mainstream class, which paid a $5 million award, was won by the Edison2 Very Light Car #98. The entry featured a drag coefficient of just .16, the lowest of all four-wheeled entries, and weighed in at a mere 830 pounds. Using a single cylinder, turbocharged 250cc motor fueled by E85, the Very Light Car achieved 102.5 MPG.

LI-ion Motors X-Prize team. Photo: Li-ion Motors

The Alternative side-by-side class, which paid a $2.5 million award, was won by the LI-ion Motors Wave II. The Wave II is a lithium-ion battery powered electric vehicle, and it achieved a calculated 187 MPG and a 100 mile range during testing. The manufacturer’s claims of a 12 second zero to sixty time were slightly ambitious, but the Wave II did manage it in 14.7 seconds.

X-Tracer Team Switzerland with their eTracers. Photo: Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize

The Alternative tandem class, which also paid out $2.5 million, was won by the X-Tracer Team Switzerland E-Tracer #79. Essentially an electric powered, full enclosed motorcycle, the E-Tracer used deployable tandem wheels to stabilize the vehicle while stopping. In X-Prize testing, the E-Tracer #79 accelerated from zero to sixty in a mere 6.6 seconds and achieved a calculated mileage of 205.3 MP, the highest achieved in the X-Prize competition.

What’s next for these teams? Production, actually, as all three winning teams either produce or will produce vehicles based on their X-Prize entries. I’d love the opportunity to give them a full road test, as I think we’re beginning to close in on mainstream viability for electric vehicles. Congratulations to the winning teams on a job well done.

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