Things are heating up in the Automotive X PRIZE with just 15 vehicles representing 12 teams from 6 countries left in the competition. Nine teams were eliminated during the Knockout Qualifying Stage, which took place at the Michigan International Speedway from June 20 to 30. Ultimately, vehicles in each of the three classes will have to exceed 100 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent), meet emissions and performance requirements, and complete on-road challenges in the fastest time possible, if they want to win their share of the US$10 million prize.

The Knockout Qualifying Stage consisted of several events. They included:

  • A technical inspection, wherein vehicles were inspected for road safety, and to check that they matched up with the teams’ original design submissions
  • An on-road fuel economy test, in which vehicles were subjected to a number of driving conditions, and had to get at least 67 MPGe and less than or equal to 300 grams per mile of CO2 emissions
  • An on-road range test, in which Alternative Class vehicles had to travel at least 67 miles (134 for Mainstream Class), at an average speed of 55mph, on a single charge and/or tank of fuel
  • A dynamic safety test, wherein the vehicles were assessed for 0-60 acceleration, braking, accident avoidance, highway acceleration, and lateral acceleration

The next step in the X PRIZE is the Finals Stage, running from July 19th to 30th, where the top finalists for each class will be decided. The 12 teams that will be competing include:

Mainstream Class

  • Edison2, Charlottesville, Virginia (two versions of their combustion-engined Very Light Car will be competing against one another)

Alternative Class - Tandem

  • Commuter Cars, Spokane, Washington (Electric)
  • Edison2, with a third version of the combustion Very Light Car
  • Spira, Carrollton, Illinois/Banglamung, Thailand (Combustion)
  • X-Tracer, Switzerland (Electric)

Alternative Class - Side-by-Side

Gizmag will be on the ground in Michigan during the Finals Stage to bring you up-to-date information on how the competition is progressing, along with a closer look at some of the teams.

The winners of the competition will be announced in September, with the winner of the Mainstream Class taking home US$5 million, and the winners of the two Alternative classes splitting the rest of the prize money.

In the meantime, updates on the standings can be found on the Automotive X-Prize site.