Three X Prize Winners Eye Consumer Market

Thursday's announcement that three teams received a total of $10 million for safe, super fuel-efficient vehicles means they will try to make their designs commercially successful, according to the contest organizations.

Three winning designs for safe, super fuel-efficient vehicles won the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE contest on Thursday, with Edison2 of Lynchburg, Va.; X-Tracer of Winterthur, Switzerland; and Li-ion Motors Corp. of Mooresville, N.C., awarded a total of $10 million and a trophy each. The contest to craft a vehicle capable of achieving 100 miles per gallon or the energy equivalent (MPGe) attracted 111 competing teams and a total of 136 vehicle entries.

The vehicles underwent on-track testing at Michigan International Speedway, including safety testing by Consumer Reports. Edison2, the $5 Million Mainstream Class winner, achieved 102.5 MPGe using E85 ethanol. Li-ion Motors Corp.'s battery electric vehicle "Wave II" achieved 187 MPGe and won $2.5 million in Alternative Side-by-Side Class, while X-Tracer's "E-Tracer #79" won $2.5 million in the Alternative Tandem Class with 205.3 MPGe, the highest achieved in the competition. This vehicle has two outrigger wheels that deploy at low speed to stabilize the vehicle.

"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," said 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."

Photos of the winning designs and information about the winning teams are available at www.progressiveautoxprize.org. A one-hour documentary titled "X PRIZE Cars: Accelerating The Future" debuted Sept. 16 on the National Geographic Channel.

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