Thinking Tech

Automotive X Prize winners announced

Automotive X Prize winners announced

Posting in Energy

Three teams who've created super lightweight, energy efficient cars will take home $10 million.

The prize was established three years ago by the X Prize Foundation to create a car that goes at least 100 miles per gallon or energy equivalent. (This is a new standard created by X Prize and Consumer Reports that will let people compare electric and non-electric cars).

The winning cars also need to be able to travel 200 miles on a single tank or charge, be produced commercially and pass a battery of other tests, including speed trials, safety tests and a session in a dynamometer chamber (which measures engine power) at Argonne National Laboratory. The prizes are funded by Progressive Insurance, which will also insure the cars.

A live broadcast of the awards ceremony, which begins at 10:30 A.M. Eastern time in Washington, D.C., is here.

The winner of the $5 million top prize, according to the New York Times, is Edison2:

Sitting on a 100-inch wheelbase, the car has a chassis of welded steel tubing and a body that resembles a small helicopter, but the entire vehicle weighs just 830 pounds. A rear-mounted, single-cylinder motorcycle engine burns a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline to make about 40 horsepower.

Winners of the two $2.5 million prizes were Wave II, a battery-electric car, and the E-Tracer, a battery-electric motorcycle-like vehicle. All of the teams' entries are here. Although 111 teams entered the contest with 136 vehicles, only seven teams and nine vehicles were left by today.

Tonight at 9 P.M. Eastern time, National Geographic will air a program with highlights of the competition.

Below is an interview with X Prize CEO Peter Diamandis from the Rachel Maddow Show on what the X Prize is trying to accomplish. He points that Henry Ford's original Model T got 25 miles per gallon -- more than the many cars get today -- because it wasn't loaded down with features.

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Deborah Gage

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Deborah Gage has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Minnesota Public Radio, Baseline and various magazines and newspapers. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure