|The Edison2 Very Light Car on the track. Credit: Edison2. Click to enlarge.|
The X PRIZE Foundation awarded $10 million to three teams who successfully completed the rigorous Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The winning teams—Edison2 of Lynchburg, Virginia; X-Tracer of Winterthur, Switzerland; and Li-ion Motors Corp. of Mooresville, North Carolina—emerged from an original field of 111 competing teams, representing 136 vehicle entries from around the world.
The $5 Million Mainstream Class Winner was the Edison2 Very Light Car, running on an E85 blend, and achieving 102.5 MPGe. Featuring the lowest drag coefficient (0.16) of any car with four wheels tested in the GM wind tunnel and at the Chrysler Proving Grounds, this vehicle demonstrated more than 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 830 pounds (376 kg) resulted from its use of light weight materials, reduced engine displacement and a host of other weight-saving innovations.
The engine is a 250cc, 1 cylinder turbocharged DOHC unit that delivers max power of 40 hp (30 kW) and max torque of 29 lb-ft (39 N&iddot;m). The rear-wheel drive car uses a six-speed manual transmission.
Edison2 said that it entered the X Prize expecting to build an electric or hybrid vehicle. Its early analysis of efficiency, however, pointed to the unequivocal virtues of light weight and low aerodynamic drag. X Prize competition requirements made an internal combustion engine, running on E85, its preferred choice for the competition. However, Edison2 notes, in the real world an electric drive could prove best. Edison2 is fuel source agnostic.
Li-ion Motors’ “Wave II” won the $2.5 Million Alternative Side-by-Side Class. This side-by-side two-seat battery electric car was built on a lightweight aluminum chassis and weighs in at 2,176 pounds (987 kg). 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 more than 100 miles range over a real-world driving cycle.
The X-Tracer Team Switzerland’s “E-Tracer #79” won the $2.5 Million Alternative Tandem Class. This tandem two-seat vehicle has two extra outrigger wheels that deploy at low speed to stabilize the vehicle. At 1,436 pounds (651 kg), the E-Tracer is able to deliver more than 100 miles in range, led the competition with 205.3 MPGe in combined on-track and laboratory fuel efficiency and achieved a zero-to-60 mph acceleration time of 6.6 seconds.
The E-Tracer, is powered by AC Propulsion’s electric drive system.
The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE was launched in 2008 to inspire a new generation of viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles capable of achieving 100 miles per gallon or the energy equivalent (MPGe).