$10 Million Automotive X-Prize Goes to Three Winners
Top X-Prize honors and $5 million went to the guys who most impressed us back in July. Team Edison2 of Lynchburg, Va., decided to forego batteries and their excessive weight for its “Very Light Car #98” (above), which beat out some stiff competition.
Edison2 relied on a one-cylinder gas/ethanol engine, plus extensive use of aluminum and other light materials (the car weighed just 830 pounds), plus a very, very low drag coefficient, plus some very sophisticated engineering.
Two other teams shared the second $5 million of the prize money. The battery-powered Wave II, looking like a green bubble, was entered by Li-Ion Motors from North Carolina, and the Peraves team of Winterthur, Switzerland, won with the E-Tracer, a slick electric motorcycle-car combo. See pix and video after the break.
Both Edison2 and Li-Ion plan to seek more funding partners to develop cars for the commercial market. Li-Ion will be taking orders for the Wave II, its side-by-side electric that gets 125 mpg, weighs 2,176 pounds, and beat out five others in its class. The July testing was competitive, as described in a press release:
In this competition, vehicles had to travel 50 laps around the [Michigan International] Speedway’s 2-mile track, covering a full 100 miles as fast as possible, without exceeding 70 mph nor going any slower than 45 mph. There was one twist: On each lap, the vehicles had to navigate a “chicane” that would force each car to brake, turn, and accelerate to race speed. The total time to complete the course and each vehicle’s fuel efficiency, measured as MPGe, were critical factors in determining the winning vehicle. At the end of the race, Team Li-Ion had finished first by a narrow 0.179 seconds!
The E-Tracer’s Swiss maker will also be taking orders for its rather incredible machine—a tandem two-wheeler (with, however, outrigger “training wheels” for slow speeds) that achieves more than 200 MPGe and does 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. In some ways, this is the coolest vehicle of all the winners.
Oliver Kuttner, Edison2’s leader and CEO, explains what went into his team’s considerable efforts:
Which of these vehicles do you think shows the most promise for commercial development?