We Can Get There From Here: The Automotive X Prize Awards $10 Million to 3 Winners

A very light car powered by an internal combustion engine (and fueled by a standard gasoline-ethanol blend known as E85) won the $5 million purse today in the Progressive Automotive X Prize—proving you don’t need an electric vehicle to get over 100 mpg.

The nonprofit X Prize Foundation and Progressive Insurance, which sponsored the automotive incentive prize, named the Edison2 from Charlottesville, VA, as the mainstream class winner in a ceremony today at the Historical Society of Washington D.C. The sponsors also awarded $2.5 million apiece to winning entries in two other categories—The Li-ion Motors team from Mooresville, NC, was the winner in the automotive design category requiring a driver and passenger sit side-by-side; and the X-Tracer team from Winterthur, Switzerland, won for its E-Tracer entry in the tandem category for hybrid motorcycle-automotive designs.

The three winners emerged from 136 vehicle entries submitted by 111 teams from around the world. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE was launched in 2008 to spur the development of a new generation of viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles capable of achieving the energy equivalent of at least 100 miles per gallon. The evaluation process included on-track testing at the Michigan International Speedway, which included dynamic safety testing by Consumer Reports, and laboratory verification by the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. The X Prize provided these details about each of the three winners:

$5 Million Mainstream Class Winner

Edison2 “Very Light Car #98″

Edison2_VeryLightCarEconomy: 102.5 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent)

Fuel: E85 ethanol

Edison2 showed the lowest drag coefficient of any car with four wheels tested in the GM wind tunnel and at the Chrysler Proving Grounds. Its low weight of … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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