For the past few years, small and medium-sized automakers have looked towards the prestige of winning the Progressive Insurance Auto-X Prize. for the X-Prize.
Initially set up as a way of encouraging innovation and inspiring the next generation of fuel efficient vehicles, the Automotive X-Prize has slowly whittled the field of competitors down from over one hundred to just a handful.
As the final phase of validation began last month, several electric vehicle teams remained hopeful about getting a piece of the $10 million prize fund. In return, they had to prove their vehicles capable of at least 100 miles-per-gallon equivalent, or MPGe, as well as pass a series of speed and handling tests.
At a ceremony today in Washington DC, the winners of the three classes were announced, and two were indeed electric cars.
The Li-Ion Motors Corp. "Wave II" won the $2.5 million Alternative Side-by-Side Class, and the Peraves X-Tracer "E-Tracer" was awarded another $2.5 million purse in the Alternative Tandem Class.
The Wave II "demonstrated outstanding low mechanical and aerodynamic drag" that resulted in a rating of 187 MPGe in its track and lab testing, 0-to-60-mph acceleration of 14. 7 seconds, and more than 100 miles of real-world range.
The tandem E-Tracer used two outrigger wheels to stabilize it at low speeds, and it led the competition with more than 200 MPGe. It provided more than 100 miles of range, and it had motorcycle-quick acceleration, hitting 60 mph from a standing start in just 6.6 seconds.
While it may look like a motorcycle, it uses similar powertrain technology (licensed from AC Propulsion) to two much better-known electric vehicles: the Tesla Roadster and the limited-production Mini E.
[For information on the Mainstream class winner, Edison2's Very Light Car, see our sister site, GreenCarReports.com]