Automotive X PRIZE winners announced

Automakers Edison2, X-Tracer and Li-ion Motors share the $10 million prize in a contest of 111 entrants to produce a lightweight, highly fuel-efficient, production-capable car.

The X PRIZE Foundation, an educational nonprofit prize organization, and Progressive Insurance on Sept. 16 awarded $10 million to three teams that successfully completed the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The winning teams — Edison2 (Lynchburg, Va., USA), X-Tracer (Winterthur, Switzerland) and Li-ion Motors Corp. (Mooresville, N.C., USA) — emerged from an original field of 111 competing teams, representing 136 vehicle entries from around the world.

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 mpg or the energy equivalent (MPGe). Now, after nearly 30 months of vehicle and business plan development, on-track testing at Michigan International Speedway which included dynamic safety testing by partner Consumer Reports, and laboratory verification at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Lab, three vehicles emerge as winners:

$5 Million Mainstream Class Winner:

  • Edison2 “Very Light Car #98” 
  • Economy: 102.5 MPGe
  • Fuel: E85 ethanol
  • Boasting the lowest drag coefficient 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 just 830 lb/376 kg is a tribute to its use of light weight materials, reduced engine displacement and a host of other weight-saving innovations.

$2.5 Million Alternative Side-by-Side Class Winner:

  • Li-ion Motors Corp “Wave II” 
  • Economy: 187 MPGe
  • Fuel: Battery Electric
  • This side-by-side two-seat battery electric car was built on a lightweight aluminum chassis and weighs in at only 2,176 lb/987 kg, despite the weight of its powerful lithium-ion batteries. 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.

$2.5 Million Alternative Tandem Class Winner:

  • X-Tracer Team Switzerland “E-Tracer #79”
  • Economy: 205.3 MPGe
  • Fuel: Battery Electric
  • This tandem two-seat vehicle combines the best of motorcycles and automobiles. This clever design has two extra outrigger wheels that deploy at low speed to stabilize the vehicle. At 1,436 lb/651 kg, the E-Tracer is able to deliver more than 100 miles in range, led the competition with more than 200 MPGe in combined on-track and laboratory fuel efficiency and achieved a zero-to-60 mph acceleration time of just 6.6 seconds.

While the prize has now been awarded, the journey continues for the winning teams. They will immediately begin leveraging their winning status, prize money and connections made over the course of the competition to bring their vehicle into the consumer market. Under a U.S. Department of Energy-funded technical assistance program, qualified Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE competitors will also gain funding support for access to key automotive expertise and test facilities. The aim of the program is to assist teams in readying their vehicles and technologies for introduction to the market.