Only 15 vehicles from 12 teams remain in the running for the Progressive Automotive X Prize, a competition that offers a $10 million prize purse for vehicles that achieve super fuel efficiency. Established automakers, start-ups, universities, inventors and even a high school had entered the Knockout Qualifying Stage, the second stage of the months-long event. By the time the knockout round ended June 29 on Michigan International Speedway (MIS), 11 vehicles representing nine teams failed to meet the standards and were eliminated. The remaining cars, two in the mainstream class and 13 in an alternative class, will advance to the final stage, which is scheduled for July 19 through July 30 at MIS in Brooklyn, Mich.
In the knockout stage, competing vehicles had to successfully repeat the technical inspections and on-track safety tests they completed during the first stage in May. For this second round, the machines and their drivers also had to complete emissions, efficiency, and range events in which they had to achieve at least two-thirds the energy equivalent of 100 miles per gallon of gasoline (100 MPGe), the minimum target for the final prize. Cars also had to run a minimum of 134 miles for mainstream class and 67 miles for the alternative class. Achieving 100 MPGe is the final goal.
Two cars now remain in the mainstream class, both Edison2 Very Light Cars with internal combustion engines. Other remaining teams include Tata Motors Limited, India’s largest automaker; established electric vehicle companies like Aptera and ZAP; and upstart Western Washington University. The field has narrowed considerably since last fall, when 43 teams with 53 vehicles began the pursuit of the Holy Grail of vehicle efficiency.
Reprinted from EERE Network News , a free newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy.