100 to 180 Miles Per Gallon Production Cars – the X Prize Challenge Winners

Washington DC

The winners of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize Competition were announced at an awards ceremony September 16, 2010 in Washington, DC at the Washington Historical Society http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/.  Afterwards, the three winning ‘cars’ were driven through city traffic to the Department of Energy for public inspection by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Three winners were chosen to highlight significant differences in the form factors and drive trains between the contestants.  The X Prize Foundation, the organizers of the competition, utilized MPGe, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, to compare apples to apples, or, in this case, internal combustion engines with electric vehicles.

The winner of the $5 million ‘Mainstream’ category (Mainstream here means four wheels, four passengers and a minimum 200 mile range) was the Very Light Car from a Virginia team called Edison2, running on E85 and coming in at 102.5 MPGe.

There were two winners in the Alternative category (Alternative = two people, 100 mile minimum range and however many wheels), both with battery electric powertrains.  The Wave II from Li-ion Motors of North Carolina can carry two passengers side-by-side, while the other winner, the E-Tracer from the Swiss team X-Tracer carries two passengers in tandem, resembling an enclosed motorcycle.  Both Alternative winners exceeded 185 MPGe.

The design of the X Prize Competition was to ensure the winners were real vehicles and not ideas.  Winning required passing an extended testing procedure over many months: safety; durability; zero-to-60 & 60-to-zero; lane change and maneuverability; emissions; multiple testing of fuel efficiency; and dynamometer testing at Argonne National Laboratory.  And these are not putt-putts: the E-Tracer can hit a top speed of nearly 200 mph.

Orders are being taken.

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