The pick of the world's most fuel efficient vehicles are lining-up at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn this week for stage one of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.
The field now stands at 36 vehicles from 28 teams, with automakers, universities, inventors and one high school vying to see how their 100 MPG (or energy equivalent) cars stack-up against the competition. Electric and gasoline powered machines make up the bulk of the list, but entrants also include biodiesel, E85, hydrogen and even one hybrid steam powered vehicle.
During the initial unscored "Shakedown Stage" (April 26-May 7) the vehicles will undergo official safety checks before hitting the track for final testing, giving teams the opportunity to iron-out any last minute bugs.
Things will really start to get interesting in stage 2 - the Knockout Qualifying Stage - which takes place on June 23 and 24 ahead of the finals in late July. Three weeks of Validation Testing will then take place at the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago before winners are announced in September. As well as being able to achieve more than 100mpg or energy equivalent (MPGe), the vehicles must be marketable and able to meet price, size, capability, safety and performance demands in the real world. Entrants are divided into two classes - Mainstream vehicles, which must carry four or more passengers, have four or more wheels, and offer a 200-mile range, and Alternative vehicles, which must carry two or more passengers and allow for a 100 mile range.
Public days are scheduled for June 25 and July 23 along with an Open House event at MIS next month which is yet to be finalized.
Stay tuned for updates at Gizmag.com as the competition unfolds.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning