Edison2, Li-ion Motors, and X Tracer Win the Automotive X Prize

September 22, 2010

Photo of a man standing on a racetrack and counting down time as a driver sits at a starting line in a small, teardrop-shaped vehicle with four wheels and fenders projecting from its sides.

Edison2's prize-winning "Very Light Car" waits at the starting line during the on-track competitions held in June.
Credit: David Freers/X Prize Foundation

The X Prize Foundation and Progressive Insurance awarded $10 million on September 16 to three teams that won the Progressive Automotive X Prize. Edison2, from Charlottesville, Virginia, claimed half of the prize purse by winning the "mainstream" class with its "Very Light Car," a four-wheeled, aerodynamic vehicle that runs on E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) and seats four. The vehicle achieved the energy equivalent of 102.5 miles per gallon of gasoline (MPGe). It also achieved the lowest drag coefficient of any car with four wheels ever tested at Chrysler Proving Grounds, and it lived up to its name with a curb weight of only 830 pounds.

Earning a $2.5 million prize with a win in the "alternative side-by-side" class, the "Wave II" from Li-ion Motors Corp. of Mooresville, North Carolina, is an all-electric car powered by lithium-ion batteries. It seats two people, side-by-side. The car achieved 187 MPGe and demonstrated a driving range of more than 100 miles. Its distinctive look features an aerodynamic body that encloses all four wheels. The remaining $2.5 million was awarded to X-Tracer Team Switzerland from Winterthur, Switzerland, which won the "alternative tandem" class with the E-Tracer, essentially an enclosed all-electric motorcycle that deploys two extra outrigger wheels at low speeds to stabilize the vehicle. The E-Tracer achieved more than 200 MPGe, the greatest fuel economy reached in the competition. Its range exceeds 100 miles.

DOE was heavily involved in the Progressive Automotive X Prize, providing $9 million in grants to support education, outreach, and technical operations related to the competition. For the final stage of the competition, DOE's Argonne National Laboratory performed dynamometer tests under controlled laboratory conditions to verify each vehicle's performance. See the Progressive Automotive X Prize press release and Web site and the Web sites for Edison2 and Li-ion Motors.