X PRIZE Announces Winning Vehicles

$10 Mil Doled Out to Fuel-Efficient Auto Designers

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted September 20, 2010

The results for the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE are in and $10 million in prize money has been doled out to the three final contestants…

The grand prize winner is Edison2 LLC. Virginia-based Edison2 took top place in the mainstream class, and was awarded $5 million for its Very Light Car (below).

 very light car

Very Light Car (aptly named, as it weighs less than 750 pounds) achieved more than 100 MPGe fuel efficiency standards for the competition running on E85 ethanol, as well as passed all safety and emissions requirements.

Team Edison2 is comprised of more than 100 people — experts and veterans in the automotive world and a Northrop-Grumman aerodynamics fellow — which no doubt lent itself to the vehicle’s lightweight aerodynamic steel frame design. li-ion

North Carolina-based Li-ion Motors took home $2.5 million for the alternative side-by-side class. 

The Wave II vehicle (shown right) is a battery electric urban car built on an aluminum chassis with a high-efficiency battery package and high-tech aerodynamic features, helping it achieve 187 MPGe while driving the X PRIZE course.

The Wave II includes air conditioning, power windows, and GPS, and can achieve top speeds of 80 mph.

The tandem class’s $2.5mil winner is team X-Tracer.

Hailing from Uster, Switzerland, X-Tracer’s E-Tracer 7009 vehicle is a two-seater featuring two stabilizer wheels that automatically drop for low speeds or sharp turns during operation.etracer

E-Tracer (shown left) has top speed of 150 mph, a 150 mile-range, and can go 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. This car held the record for fuel efficiency — 197 MPGe.

Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation Peter Diamandis said of the winners in a press release that he feels these vehicles are “set to revolutionize fuel efficiency, as well as the auto industry, because the beauty of this X PRIZE is not just the cars — it is also the technology.”

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., hosted the event to announce the winners. Winning teams returned to their home states and countries with a fat check and a one-of-a-kind trophy designed by Harry Winston. (Not too shabby, if you ask me.)

Teams were joined by Diamandis and Progressive Insurance CEO Glenn Renwick, as well as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi; the President's Science Advisor, Dr. John Holdren; Senator Mark R. Warner; Representative Edward Markey; and Deputy Secretary of Energy, Daniel Poneman. 

The concept of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition was first developed in 2006, and officially announced and opened to teams around the world in March 2008.

After four years of designing, developing, constructing, and undergoing testing and qualifications, the more than 100 initial international applicants were whittled down to a group of finalists that underwent testing at the Michigan International Speedway.

Diamandis pointed out that while some consider the announcing of the winners the conclusion of the X PRIZE competition, for the winning teams, things are just getting started…

“Indeed, they will immediately begin leveraging their winning status, prize money and connections made over the course of the competition to catapult their vehicle into the consumer market… we wish these winning teams great success in their next steps towards commercialization.”

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) — a national leader on energy and the environment and chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee — commented on the importance of programs like this one for the future of energy...

"We have become OPEC's ATM machine and we need a way to get ourselves out of this dilemma that the world has allowed itself to get into. Our dependence on oil distorts our foreign policy. That's why this X Prize is the most important thing happening in our country."

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE initiated a contest of this caliber with the goal of changing the paradigm of “mainstream” vehicles.

The competition’s global scale and stringent requirements have proven that fast, fuel efficient vehicles that abide by safety and emission standards are more than possible to build — they are ideas in the minds of some of the world’s most creative and innovative engineers that come to fruition in large part thanks to financial support and international recognition.

“The innovative technologies brought forth in this competition were astounding and further proved the purpose behind prize competitions — to make the impossible possible,” Diamandis said proudly in Washington last week. 

Congratulations to the winners and to all involved in making the X PRIZE Automotive competition a grand success. I look forward to seeing the winning vehicles come to market.

Who knows, some day in the near future, you could have a 750-pound fuel-efficient vehicle parked in your driveway.