Nine vehicles remain in competition for the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize, which is seeking to spur development of commercially viable cars that average 100 miles-per-gallon. The competition, the brainchild of Peter Diamandis’ X Prize Foundation, began 15 months ago with 136 entries and will end on Sept. 16 in Washington D.C. with the announcement of a winner. The final nine vehicles vying for the prize have emerged after a week of performance, safety, and efficiency testing at the Michigan International Speedway.
Finalists were asked to demonstrate a minimum efficiency of 90 miles-per-gallon at this stage (or equivalent for an electric vehicle), along with passing tests for carbon emissions, acceleration (0–60 mph), braking (60–0 mph), driving range, weight, and more. Several leading teams have emerged, including Virginia-based Edison2, with a combustion, 4-passenger car; X-Tracer, a Swiss team with an electric vehicle that has achieved 197 miles-per-gallon-equivalent in some tests; and Raceabout, a Finnish team with an electric car that has achieved 143 miles-per-gallon-equivalent. The U.S. Department of Energy has contributed more than $9 million towards the competition since its inception.