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Automotive X-PRIZE winners announced


September 16, 2010

The Edison2 team accepting a cheque for US$5 million

The Edison2 team accepting a cheque for US$5 million

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At a ceremony this morning in Washington, DC, the winners of the US$10 million Automotive X-PRIZE were announced. Not surprisingly to those of us who have been following the competition, the winner of the $5 million Mainstream class prize was Virginia’s Edison2 team, with their four-seater combustion-engined Very Light Car #98. When we were taking in the Finals stage of the competition at the Michigan International Speedway in July, it became obvious by the end of the stage that Edison2 would be receiving some of the prize purse today. Sharing in that loot were the winners of the Alternative class: Switzerland’s X-Tracer team took home $2.5 million for their electric E-Tracer #79 in the Tandem sub-class, while North Carolina’s Li-ion Motors received the other 2.5 for their electric Wave2 in the Side-by-Side sub-class.

Edison2’s 830-lb (376.48-kg) ethanol-powered Very Light Car attained a fuel economy of 102.5MPGe (US miles-per-gallon equivalent) or 2.29L/100km, while also meeting the 200-mile (321.87-km) range requirement and four-passenger capability for the Mainstream class. Not only is the car very lightweight, but it also had the lowest drag coefficient of any of the four-wheeled vehicles tested in the competition.

“The journey has been one that completely departed from where we thought we were going to end up,” stated team leader Oliver Kuttner. “We really thought we had a lot of knowledge, and we learned what we didn’t know. And today there are times when we watch people and we read headline stories, and we realize that there are people who don’t know, who are going to spend millions of dollars, who may call us in two years.”

In the Alternative class, vehicles had to “only” attain a 100-mile (160.93-kilometer) range, and be capable of carrying two passengers. The X-Tracer team managed 187.6MPGe (1.25L/100km) with their electric 1,436-lb (651.36-kg) E-Tracer, which is based on the already commercially-available Monotracer fully-enclosed, outrigger-wheel-equipped motorcycle.

“Our claims are no longer just claims, they’re now official statements,” said team leader Felix Wagner. “As your President Kennedy said 50 years ago when he announced that the USA would put a man on the moon within ten years, ‘We chose to do it not because it was easy, but because it was hard.’” He added that consumers should be able to buy an exact copy of the E-Tracer used in the competition within a year.

The 2,176-lb (987.02-kg) electric Li-ion Motors Wave2 car attained 187.0MPGe (1.26L/100km), although it just barely beat Finland's RaceAbout for the Alternative Side-by-Side prize.

“This competition has elevated the Wave2 to a much higher level than what we first had entered,” stated team leader Ron Cerven. “We were able to dig deeper and obtain far better performance than what we had initially.”

We will be posting video stories we shot on both the Very Light Car and the E-Tracer soon.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Congratulations to the winners. I am however very disappointed that my personal favourite, Aptera, did not win a penny.

No sour grapes though, all of the teams deserve a pat on the back. While Honda, Toyota and the rest sit on their hands, these guys have shown what is possible. Ford, for example, is out there touting the Fiesta with its measly 40 mpg (US) as if that\'s something to be proud of. They should be ashamed.


Now all we need is to be able to buy them somewhere...

Vickie Cyr

Interesting that Aptera, which would be the one I would personally purchase, and has a solid business model in place and working, didn\'t win something.

But, all the resultant winners seem to have been picked objectively, with far more testing data than at first expected.

Congratulations to all the hard work and engineering that went toward their vehicles, and toward the future of vehicles.


I thought we would see a few more enclosed motorcycles and narrow aerodynamic tilters.A aerodynamic 2,3 or 4 wheeled tilter with a small 30 hp diesel engine would likely see 200 mpg USA // 1 liter per 100 Km easily .I really thought BMW,Honda,Kawasaki etc would have had a few enclosed motorcycles to try to win the prize,what better of a place, to show off some new concepts,prototypes of the future and maybe recoup a little of your investment back .

Thomas Lewis
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