What would you do with $5 million? Would you use your money to spread joy, good will, and give to charitable organizations? Or would you go on a self-indulgent spending spree, buying that yacht and house in the Rivera you've always wanted? Personally, I'd probably buy a cabin in the middle of the woods and spending the rest of the days whittling life away. It probably won't ever happen though.
The Edison2 team has to answer that question though, as their Very Light Car (pictured above) has been announced as the winner of the “Mainstream” category of the Automotive X-Prize.
In truth, the contest was theirs to lose, as all of their competitors have been systematically written off. The cause of the Automotive X-Prize, as many already know, was to build a vehicle capable of getting 100 mpg equivalent. The Edison2 team and their “Very Light Car” competed in the mainstream category. That meant the car had to hold four passengers, have air conditioning, heating, and be able to accelerate to highway speeds. At the end of the day, the Edison2 team managed to get 102 mpg equivalent using a single-cylinder motorcycle engine running on E85. Score another one for the internal combustion engine!
There were other winners as well. Li-Ion motors scored a $2.5 million prize for their oddly-shaped electric car, which got the equivalent of 187 mpg. It was however the Swiss X-Tracer team, with a pair of enclosed electric motorcycles (with seating for two!) who got the best mpg equivalent of 205 mpg. They too, walked away with $2.5 million.
One nagging question remains though. Has the Automotive X-Prize brought humanity closer to a future powered by alternative fuels? Considering that an internal combustion engine-powered car dominated the “mainstream” class… I think we still have a ways to go.
Source: Consumer Reports