The Automotive X Prize is a contest that aims to find the most efficient, production-ready vehicles. Among the winners of this year’s $10 million prize is a car that gets a staggering 102 miles per gallon.
What’s especially unique about the Automotive X Prize is that contenders are not exclusively auto industry veterans or engineers, but rather just ordinary people coming together to build commercially viable and fuel efficient technology.
“We’ve seen a shift in the market since we first launched this competition, and a greater awareness by people everywhere to think more seriously about the actions we take, and how they affect our environment,” noted Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. “Gas mileage ranks as one of our top concerns when purchasing a new vehicle and I believe strongly that the innovations showcased throughout the life of this competition will continue to impact and improve our car buying options for the future.”
One of the winners of the 100 miles per gallon race was the Edison2‘s “Very Light Car No. 98,” which was lauded for its use of lightweight materials, impressive aerodynamics, and a its low production cost. Oliver Kuttner, a real-estate developer and race-car driver, founded the Edison2 team and believes that aerodynamics and weight reduction were crucial to building a high mileage vehicle.
“We’ve been working on these types of solutions, really, all our lives,” Kuttner said. “In racing, fuel is a precious resource. One less pit stop is the difference between winning and losing.”
The X Prize is funded is funded by Progressive Insurance and gave 111 teams 30 months to develop their vehicles. Winners of the prize are eligible for a U.S. Department of Energy program that will help prepare the vehicles for introduction to the U.S. market.
Edison2 won $5 million, the bulk of the prize money, but other cars also met the prize’s requirements — a car that is safe, commercially viable, and capable of 100 MPG. See all of the winners below.
$5 Million Mainstream Class Winner:
Edison2 “Very Light Car #98” (Charlottesville, VA)
- Economy: 102.5 MPGe
- Fuel: E85 ethanol
Boasting the lowest drag coefficient of any car with four wheels tested in the GM wind tunnel and at the Chrysler Proving Grounds, this vehicle demonstrated over 100 MPGe on the test track, and verified in the lab, under stringent testing conditions using a highly innovative small displacement engine. Its low weight of just 830 pounds is a tribute to its use of light weight materials, reduced engine displacement and a host of other 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 only 2,176 pounds, despite the weight of its powerful lithium ion batteries. The Wave II demonstrated outstanding low mechanical and aerodynamic drag that resulted in 187 MPGe in combined on-track and laboratory efficiency testing, 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
This tandem two-seat vehicle 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, the E-Tracer is able to deliver over 100 miles in range, led the competition with over 200 MPGe in combined on-track and laboratory fuel efficiency and achieved a zero-to- 60 mph acceleration time of just 6.6 seconds.
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