It was something of a photo finish, but the winners of the Automotive X-Prize are in. Taking top honors: Edison2's "Very Light Car No. 98," a single-cylinder gas/ethanol burning four-seater that gets 102 miles per gallon of fuel. Edison2 took home half of the $10 million prize while two other teams split the other half.
Edison2's victory hinged on the team's innovative use of lightweight materials and superior aerodynamics. VLC98 is built on a steel frame but uses aluminum wherever possible, keeping the weight at a mere 830 pounds, feather-light for a four-seater. Their choise of a one-cylinder combustion engine rather than an electric motor saved them weight as well, as batteries add a lot of weight.
Edison2 doesn't plan to market the car in its current incarnation, but the technologies refined in its development could inform a future commercial model. Meanwhile, both of the two other prize winners are taking orders for their electric cars. North Carolina-based Li-Ion Motors' Wave2 – a two-seater that gets 187 miles on a single charge – netted the company a cool $2.5 million in prize cash. X-Tracer, a Swiss team from Winterthur, won another $2.5 million with its electric mini-car, the E-Tracer. The motorcycle like auto gets an even better 205 miles per charge and should be available in the U.S. next year.
Check out a short doc on Edison2's winning entry below.
Very impressive. Now if they can do it with a 2 ton brick shaped vehicle the average American will consider buying it (provided it also can do at least 100 MPH, while pulling 10 tons).
It figures... CHINA:
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The X-Racer is particularly slick. If the price is reasonable, (at the end of the day, it is still pretty much a motorcycle) I can see them doing extremely well with that vehicle. Heck, if I knew how to drive a motorcycle I'd actually consider getting one.
Of course ... ANY 830 lb car can get great gas mileage! Sounds like a waste of a story. What happens to the 1 cylinder engine when 4 adults get in to DOUBLE the weight of the car? I think it will stall and break down or if it does work, it will reduce mileage in half! Also we all know aerodynamics ... how fast did they have to go to get that rating? 25 mph? What's the mileage at 65 MPH with 4 adults?? Yeah, I thought so.
Best way to be green ... don't spit out 10 kids!
That isn't the point of the X-Prize. Efficiency is the name of the game. Increasing efficiency means that these changes can be applied to non-concept cars and as a result increase the overall efficiency. Once the median gallons per mile goes up, you can't really argue about the results.
If we wlready have cars that do like 50 MPG, with all of the required safety systems that these vehicles likely exclude, is 102 MPG really that impressive?
If Toyota use Carbon fiber to replace all of the body panels, put in ceramic breaks, took out the stereo, nav, ac, heating systems, interior panels and carpeting. Replaced glass windows with lighter plastics. Removed bumpers, changed to lighter basic suspensions, removed trunk space, etc... isn't it likely that this vehicle, as impractical as it may be, would probably be looking at similar performance to these cars??
If so, then what was actually gained? The knowledge that a combination of the techniques used for inexpensive high fuel efficiency road cars and expensive high performance [speed] cars yields top-end fuel performance?? I am truly shocked :roll-eyes:
What is absolutely ridiculous about all this is that not in the distant past, there were engineers making carburetors that could easily push over 200 mpg on even a 6 cylinder engine. Do some research on the patents. These carburetors would vaporize the gas before it was burned which greatly increased the efficiency of burn.
Oh and interestingly, now gas has additives that prevent vaporization. Why? The explanation is that the oil companies want to prevent "gas loss by evaporation due to hot temperatures."
Right because my sealed gas tank might lose gas due to evaporation. Cars can easily be addapted to get 200 mpg or greater, this has been known since at least the 70's.
I meant this has been known since the 30's. Here are 6 engineers that have received patents for such carbs. Charles Pogue, Ivor Newberry, Robert Shelton, Herald Schwartz, Oliver Tucker, and Thomas Olge.
Put your tinfoil hat on I think you're brain is fried...
I find it rather sad how many negative comments there are on here about the winners. I tend to wonder how many of you have even worked on a car and understand the challenges involved in making the modern automobile, let alone re-inventing it to get high mileages.
I do respect the work of the winners. I just don't appreciate the game. You really think after 125 years of automotion that we can't do better then 30 pathetic mpg?? Anyone who thinks that we can't do better must not understand things like engineering and ingenuity.
In this case neccessity truly is the mother of invention. There haven't been any major refinements to the internal combustion engine in the past 100 years because we didn't need them; gas has been cheap and plentiful for the past few decades. Look back @ the energy crisis of the late '70s/early '80s and you'll probably see some of the same ideas.
We're seeing the invention part of advancement today; tomorrow we'll see the application. These vehicles might seem silly now, but one day you may be driving their technological children or grandchildren.
Like the fact that its finally decided...not liking the fact that gasoline still factors in something that is the future of motor technology
102mpg is really good, great work!
But three weeks ago I drove from Canada to Mexico using only 12.4 gallons of fuel in my 25 year old car the Avion.
1478 miles at 55-60 miles per hour averaging 119.1 Real Miles per Gallon (not battery equivalent)
One day from Redding to Fresno we averaged 129 real MPG!
We had 17.5 gallons on board That is a 2000 mile range!
The battery cars only had to go 100 miles.
Check it out www.100mpgplus.com
Very very sad to see we are still working with (and pushing) products that tend to end up funding mid east terrorist groups.
This contest should be restricted to "clean energy" surces only. Quit promoting gas engines.
Solar and wind can trickle charge batteries. Batteries can be quick changed.
Get out of the stone age.
Thank goodness for the many electric vehicles entering the market. Sorry for the gas guzzlers....
Riversimple is going to market with a 300mpg energy equivalent hydrogen fuel cell car. Looks like they should have entered this as it looks like they could have won..
choise? Spell check please. I'm an engineer and the spelling bugs even me.
seriously, a lot of these ideas for cars are really cool. I would like one. but all these ideas for cars are like mini cars. they are always tiny. if you get in a reck you will be smashed like a pancake. The other car/truck wont even have a scratch on it. 10 for helping nature, 0 in safety -,,,-
Excellent article and great comments. People obviously get it - especially PopSci readers.
This competition created a target that had little value. A couple of the other bloggers even suggested it was a negative target and they are correct.
Achieving higher MPG from a finite fuel that will not be available in the few more years is basically a waste of time.
This competition should have structured the competition for viable, large scale fuel sources and technologies and set up the rules so the great engineering efforts committed to this competition would translate into real-world gains.
Instead, the only engine/fuel that is scalable and sustainable did not even bother with an entry.
Stop the electric assembly lines gas is back, 102 miles a gallon of gas it seems to me our current automotive manufacturers did something wrong not to have stumbled upon this beauty earlier.