West Philly Hybrid X high school team in race for Auto X Prize


October 10, 2009

The Automotive X Prize is a competition aiming to "inspire a new generation of viable, super - efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change". With a $10 million prize pot and over 100 teams from 12 countries contributing entries, an unlikely contender has emerged in the form of West Philadelphia High School's Hybrid X Team, which is applying its experience and knowledge to two entries including the Factory Five GT based EVX GT sports car.

The West Philly EVX Team has been honing their skills and empowering disadvantaged youth in the field for the last eleven years. Already the proud owners of an extensive swag of awards in similar competitions, the team is the sole high school entrant up against impressive opponents ranging from Universities to Silicon Valley think tanks. The competition rules dictate that entrants must build cars that can not only do a minimum of 100 miles per gallon, but also be safe, reliable and be able to be produced in quantities of at least 10,000.

The team has entries in both the mainstream and alternative divisions. Its submission for the former, the EVX Focus, uses the chassis of a Ford Focus, making it easier to meet safety specifications. Touted as a "true flex" vehicle, the EVX Focus is able to burn both gasoline and biobutanol.

It is the team's "alternative" entry which is creating the most buzz however. Built on a Factory Five GT frame, the EVX GT is a two-seat biodiesel hybrid sports car that the team claims will easily exceed the 100 MPGe requirements.

Both units incorporate an Azure Dynamics electric motor and 10.2kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate battery pack, with the EVX GT featuring a VW TDI 1.9l engine. The TDI will have a particulate matter trap that the team says will meet and exceed the emissions requirements of less than 200 grams of CO2 per mile.

While the electric motor will be the main drive motor for urban cruising under 50mph, the unit is expected to perform like that of a sports car, boasting acceleration of zero to 60mph in less than five seconds. The team sees the EVX GT as a price conscious alternative to big names like BMW and Porsche.

The field of competitors is due to be cut by half by the end of October with the final Automotive X Prize winner announced in 2010. Whatever the outcome, the kids of West Philly are certainly demonstrating they have what it takes to represent the next generation as we move into a "greener" phase of automotive development.

The Hybrid X Team's website has more information.


the smart for two diesel gets 70 mpg already and it been in production for years. its illegal to drive it in the u.s. as is almost every diesel car save the vw gti diesel.

'clean' diesel is more environmentally friendly than most gas, contains more combustible chemical energy per gallon, and is more sustainable than biodiesel. 'bio' diesel is destructive to farm land, wastes precious water resources, and drives up food crop prices , resulting in a highly regressive pricing externality- that can actually be measured in market price terms (not the nonsense C02 externality pricing 'estimates')

we already have the technology to make modest improvements now. the so called 'future' of an all electric car fleet is NOT around the corner because the battery technology and the production and distribution infrastructure for electricity, just ARENT there yet. the question to we go about pushing through more efficient vehicle technology? the government wants to throw money at it (cash for clunkers) and use CAFE regulation to pressure our already broken manufacturing oligopoloy.

the governmet has been using this approach for years, and it's never worked. it's only wasted time and money and breath and talent. i say shut down CAFE , shut down cash for clunkers, STOP WASTING OUR MONEY. the answer for government to shrink and allow industry to go broke. inflation will push up gas prices drastically in the next decade, and the market will push consumers to make the necessary decisions that will result in less gas consumption.

you can always raise gas taxes. but then, it's always easier to avoid the potential hitmen assasins of the oil industry and simply create a national sales tax.

the problem is the american legal and political system. It is captured entirely by the oil industry. as if that weren't enough, its just absurd trying to change this system , while the government is busy bailing out the auto industry and the banking industry, which has financed the auto-industry into the ground. these 'bailout' moneys are not used to change the business model. they are used by the auto company recipients to prolong the established unsuccessful model by ploughing money right back into the coffers of the politicians who support a continous bailout. remember that gm only went bankrupt after receiving well over 30 billion in government aid that came directly at tax payer expense. meanwhile, the oil industry remains firmly in charge.

ironically enough, the biggest hope we have for reducing oil consumption and increasing the motivation of the consumer to save gas and drive more efficient vehicles, is if israel bomb iran, or even less likley, should the u.n. place sanctions on iran. basically, THE MARKET WORKS. higher gas prices are the best hope for real change, because humans don't change unless they are painfully forced to.

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I wouldn't say the "EVX" GT is the cost-conscious competitor to the likes of a BMW or Porsche. Factory Five cars themselves are kits ranging from 10k to 20k that provide a semi rolling chassis which you complete with parts from a donor car or Jegs catalog. Nonetheless, the choice of the GT car is pretty cool, and should provide a fantastic platform to build from.

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