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.