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100 mpg cars win $10 million in X PRIZE

The Edison2 Super Fuel-Efficient Vehicle

After months of competing, three teams have won a share of $10 million in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for Super Fuel-Efficient Vehicles.

The prize was awarded today in America and the Edison2 won $5m, Li-ion Motors and X-Tracer receive $2.5m each.

The X PRIZE Foundation, an educational non-profit prize organisation, has awarded $10 million to three teams who successfully completed the rigorous Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.

The winning teams were Edison2 from America; X-Tracer from Switzerland; and Li-ion Motors from America – 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 miles per gallon or the energy equivalent (MPGe).

Now, after nearly 30 months of vehicle and business plan development, on-track testing at Michigan International Speedway, and laboratory verification, three vehicles have emerged 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 over 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 pounds is a tribute to its use of lightweight materials, reduced engine displacement and a host of other weight-saving innovations.

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

The Li-ion Motors Corp Wave II car

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 pounds, 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 14.7 seconds zero-to-60 mph acceleration time, and over 100 miles range over a real-world driving cycle.

$2.5 Million Alternative Tandem Class Winner:

The E-Tracer 79 by X-Tracer Team Switzerland

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 cars. This clever design has two extra outrigger wheels that deploy at low speed to stabilize the vehicle. At 1436 pounds, the E-Tracer is able to deliver over 100 miles in range, led the competition with over 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 catapult their vehicle into the consumer market.

Under a U.S. Department of Energy-funded technical assistance programme, 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 programme is to assist teams in readying their vehicles and technologies for introduction to the market.

“We’ve seen a shift in the market since we first launched this competition, and a greater awareness by people everywhere to think more seriously about the actions we take, and how they affect our environment,” noted Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. “Gas mileage ranks as one of our top concerns when purchasing a new vehicle and I believe strongly that the innovations showcased throughout the life of this competition will continue to impact and improve our car buying options for the future.”

“Congratulations to the winners and to all the teams who competed over the course of this competition. Their innovations and hard work are truly inspirational,” said Glenn Renwick. “We’re extremely proud to support a competition that will result in more super fuel-efficient vehicle choices; choices that will make people’s lives better.”

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is the second X PRIZE awarded by the X PRIZE Foundation, known worldwide as a leading organisation for bringing about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity through incentive prizes.