• Jul 24th 2010 at 9:07AM
  • 25
After the first week of the Progressive Automotive X-Prize's Finals Stage, some of the better-known teams will have to say good-bye and watch the rest of the competition from the sidelines. According to a new press release from the AXP, Tata Motors, Amp, Commuter Cars (Tango) and Spira are out. Here are the reasons why:
  • Amp met the requirement of 90 MPGe, but exceeded the maximum threshold of 200 grams per mile of CO2 in the Efficiency Event. The team was also unable to complete all of the required laps in the Range Event.
  • Commuter Cars' Tango was unable to meet the minimum fuel economy requirement and exceeded the maximum threshold of 200g/mile CO2 in the Efficiency Event. The team was also unable to complete the required laps within the Range Event.
  • Spira was unable to meet the minimum fuel economy requirement of 90 MPGe.
  • Tata was unable to present their vehicle for the Range Test due to a technical issue and has withdrawn from the Competition.
This leaves 11 vehicles from eight teams left in the entire competition. Next week, the remaining vehicles will be tested in the Dynamic Safety and Combined Performance and Efficiency events. These will be 0-60, 60-0 and 45 mile per hour accident avoidance tests.

[Source: Automotive X-Prize]


Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Wraps First Week of Finals Stage

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE has just put the wraps on week 1 of the Finals Stage, and what an exciting week it has been. The week began with technical inspections and, once all teams got the green light from competition officials, quickly moved to the on-track test events.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the remaining 15 vehicles from 12 teams competed in a 136 mile Efficiency event spanning two days and comprised of Urban, City, and Highway driving. All vehicles had to achieve 100 MPGe. Today, Friday, our focus was on Range, where vehicles had to show that they could achieve the 100 or 200 mile range requirement in the Alternative and Mainstream classes, respectively. Both the efficiency and range tests were elimination events.

It was a steamy few days in Michigan, which meant teams were up against an even bigger challenge: keeping their vehicles cool while meeting all the other performance targets.

The teams performed superbly, but as Friday afternoon wore on, it was clear that not all teams were going to be advancing into the second week of Finals.
  • Amp met the requirement of 90 MPGe, but exceeded the maximum threshold of 200 grams per mile of CO2 in the Efficiency Event. The team was also unable to complete all of the required laps in the Range Event.
  • Commuter Cars' Tango was unable to meet the minimum fuel economy requirement and exceeded the maximum threshold of 200g/mile CO2 in the Efficiency Event. The team was also unable to complete the required laps within the Range Event.
  • Spira was unable to meet the minimum fuel economy requirement of 90 MPGe.
  • Tata was unable to present their vehicle for the Range Test due to a technical issue and has withdrawn from the Competition.
The above teams have agreed to remain with us next week and demonstrate their technology and vehicle capabilities in the Dynamic Safety Events on Monday as well as the Combined Performance and Efficiency Event on Tuesday. The scores achieved by the teams will be posted on our website, though not considered in the awarding of the prize purses.

So where do we go from here? Next week's events will include the Dynamic Safety Event and Combined Performance and Efficiency Event.

The Dynamic Safety Event, conducted by our auto test partners at Consumer Reports, consists of an acceleration (0 to 60 MPH) test, a braking (60 to 0 MPH) test, and an accident avoidance test at 45mph (emergency double lane change). Teams must pass these challenges to advance to the subsequent Validation Stage or face elimination.

The Finals Stage culminates in the Combined Performance and Efficiency Event to be held on the 2 mile oval and scored based on time. Unlike previous tests, this is not an elimination event. Rather, this challenge serves as the tie-breaker for those vehicles that manage to pass all the other requirements and hit the 100 MPGe threshold. Remember, there are no extra points for exceeding 100 MPGe. Rather, it is the fastest car in each class that will win the Grand Prize.

Only the teams that successfully complete all of the above events, and meet the minimum requirements and thresholds for efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, and range, will continue on to Coast Down at the Chrysler Proving Grounds and the Validation Stage at Argonne National Lab. We are set to award the prize on September 16th.

Click here for more information about next week's events. View current team standings our our Web site at http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/team-central. Track team successes and watch the action live via streaming video at http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/live

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Beside the Aptera, I wonder which "production ready" car is left?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know, right...

        They were looking to actually sell these cars? O_O
        • 5 Years Ago
        Zap Alias
      • 5 Years Ago
      interesting that the Tango has poor efficiency at low speed. I guess it might dawn on them now that they have a fundamental problem with the 1000kg lead keel.
      I'd say widen the wheel stance a bit without the body and change to lithium keel. halving the weight should make its performance that much more ridiculous
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hi Rick.
        I'm not missing anything. I've heard your pitch before and seen your videos. I know the merit of the idea but as I've said before and now, it has a fundamental problem. it weighs as much as a heavy steel sedan, it's tied to using lead batteries and has an extremely costly controller to give it that performance despite its massive weight.

        I understand the lane sharing idea but try to listen to what I say. what if you based it on lithium, a block that's a bit lower than the lead so the seating position is a bit lower and the car overall (so you need less of a keel). then widen the wheel stance just a little bit to match the new configuration. say 20cm wider or even less. even if that wouldn't anymore allow 2 comfortably side by side in a lane, in the utopian scenario that there are enough Tangos on the roads to share space with eachother they could still fit much better than conventional cars. they are shorter, you could have maybe 3 per two lanes or there could be 4 a bit offset back and forth. and you can overtake on the lane separator.

        if the vehicle suddenly weighed less than half it would be much cheaper to make and have much better energy efficiency. instead of the 4000$ zilla2k you could have the same or even better acceleration with a mass produced 1k. similarly smaller motor because you don't carry a God damned ton of lead. at the same time the range could be maybe 400km if done right. or more.

        you can have the Ferrari acceleration, you can have the lane sharing, you can have the ultra low energy consumption, you can have the much longer range, all for a much better price than now.
        just widen the stance a little bit, go with lithium, lower the seating and it's instantly all better.

        maybe as little as 10cm wider is enough to keep it stable with the slightly lower seating position on the lithium.
        the lower weight will also allow you to use narrower tires if such models exist.
        aim for less than 400kg.

        and lithium is cheaper than lead already so don't use that as an excuse.
        it could be a viable product. the current configuration cannot.
        • 5 Years Ago

        IMO the Tango looks fine and it is technically pretty awesome, I say the 6 figure price impacts sales much more than the styling.


        I always appreciate people thinking outside the box and I would love to see half lane vehicles become a standard and city actually split some lanes and reserve them for half lane vehicles. But a lot of these should be lower performance more efficient vehicles.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey Rick, you say "Desirability is a factor!"

        If so try to make Tango a bit sexier car. Larger wheels, more streamlined side profile, and you have a guaranteed seller. Now it looks like a golf cart. Seriously. I could by my family a one as a roundabout if it were a little less ugly. As it is now, no matter how good performance it has it wont sell.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rick: Thanks for coming on this site and giving your positions and ideas. I really admire what you are doing.

        I apologize for Dan, don't pay him too much mind. He's our class clown, and knows how to do everything in every field better than everyone.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rick, I believe that if really mass produced the car could be sold for maybe 25000 but isn't it worth at least trying a design that's 3 times more energy efficient and 2-3 times cheaper if all you have to do is widen the wheel stance 2 inches on each side

        are you really that confident about a 150000$ design. dont you think that just maybe a 50k$ version with the same performance and 3 times lower energy consumption would sell just a bit better even if the wheels were 2 inches further out on each side
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey Dan,

        You don't seem to understand the purpose of the Tango. It was never designed to be the most efficient car in the world. It WAS designed to be the fastest, safest, and most practical car for 90% of all urban trips. There are 140-million workers in the US, and of them 106-million are single occupant drivers, carrying around 4 empty seats, which are the cause of all traffic jams in the major cities during commute hours. I define it that carefully, because there are traffic jams caused by ball games and concerts, that are caused by cars with typically more than one occupant.

        The Tango is the only car available in the world, to my knowledge, that can double lane capacity. A freeway lane is 12-feet wide. A truck is 9-foot, 4-inches from mirror to mirror. That leave 16-inches of clearance on each side in a lane. The Tango offers 16.5-inches in a half lane. If you observe a pack of motorcycles traveling in a lane you will notice that they far more than double lane capacity. Obviously, until there are a lot of Tangos it won't make much difference in solving traffic congestion. As an incentive for early adopters, in California, Europe, and Asia, the Tango can lanesplit of filter. This is the practice of driving up the white line between stopped or slow-moving cars. People spend 2 hours driving 30 miles on LA freeways that are designed for 70 mph. The Tango can cut this commute in half but without the danger of a motorcycle. In these circumstances, the Tango is unequivocally the fastest car in existence, and I would argue that it is also the safest car. This is not only because it has an FIA-certified race car roll cage, jet pilot's shoulder harnesses, and a rollover threshold created by the ballast to equal that of a 911 Porsche, but more because it can avoid an accident better than any car in history. It turns instantly, unlike a bike that has to be set up. If a semi truck comes into your lane, where can you go with a regular car? You have to depend on the driver hearing your horn. With a Tango you can likely accelerate and move over, faster than the truck can even get into your lane.

        So, the Tango has virtues that no other car in the competition, or any other production car for that matter, has. Here is a quotation from the Automotive X-Prize web page:

        "The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is a global competition that awards a $10M Grand Prize to the first team to build a car that gets at least 100 MPGe in real world driving and is safe, affordable and desirable to offer consumers more efficient vehicle choices.

        Desirability is a factor!

        I'm certain that if people were to drive the 3 other vehicles in our tandem category that they would almost unanimously choose the Tango over any other.

        So, although we only got 99 miles of range with the A/C on full tilt, using 5 kWhrs or roughly 20 miles of range, and only have an MPGe of about 90 mpg with A/C on part of the time, the Tango does things that have never been accomplished before.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "There are only 11 Tangos in the world at present."
        probably a lesson inthere somewhere don't you think : )

        and I don't buy the we need 1.5m$ to do minor change line. that's bullshit. you don't have a mass production setup and I'm not advocating a mass production setup. as I understand it you're hand building each copy right? maybe a few welding jigs, some glass fiber molds for the panels. you can perhaps reuse some and some will have to be redone for a new design. sure that's work but not 30 years of a man's sallary plus expenses.

        what I'm suggesting takes a bit of time and work but it would be sellable even as hand built.
        your current design wouldn't be viable even if a billion dollars was spent optimizing it for mass production. there is huge advantage in a lean design over a bloated design. I understand that you don't care that it's very wasteful as long as its narrow but to be blunt, you're wrong.

        now you can doggedly hold on to your chosen position for a couple of decades more or you can try something that might actually work.

        you may think that just being EV has to be enough but it isn't.
        and don't paint me with the sheepish group that can't imagine anything other than the cars they are used to. I'm the guy who is promoting this type of vehicle www.zev.dk which is probably too extreme for most but it's extreme for the right reasons. not because of lack of consideration for energy efficiency. when your vehicle could readily be 3 times more efficient then it's not thought through.

        how about this, you poll your 11 customers if they would prefer paying 35k$ if they then had to accept that the wheels were 2 inches further out on each side and otherwise same performance.
        when you keep it light everything is easier.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Changing the design without $millions in capital would just increase the price. The reason the Tango is expensive has little to do with its performance or size. It was difficult to engineer in those dimensions, however, it's costs an average of $2.5-million to build a concept cars in Detroit. We did pretty well building 10 for $1.5-Million. We need lots of capital, then the Tango will be redesigned for a much lower price. We have a plan to build either 5,000 T200s over 2 years to retail for $44k, requiring $50M in capital, or 30,000 Tangos over 2 years to retail for $29k, requiring $150M in capital. Starting a car company is no easy task. The key is to be profitable at whatever price you have to sell them at, or you won't be in business long. It's a struggle for us even at $150k each. There are only 11 Tangos in the world at present.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a shame. I was really cheering for the Tango. Sure, it's not the prettiest car in the world, but as an engineer, I'm less concerned with pretty. I find it very innovative. I think that the basic design layout would have enormous market appeal, especially in the cities of Europe and developing countries where parking is a free-for-all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Tango does run on Lithium. LiFePO4 to be precise. It has longevity and power. It is 300 lbs lighter. The battery box is now 10" deep because requires that much space to hold 32 to 35 kWhrs of cells, plus 1/4" (200 lbs) of lead ballast that keeps the rollover threshold at a 5-star rating. We get away with a total ballast and battery, 100 lbs. lighter, because the lead is at the very bottom.

        I have no interest in making the Tango wider. If anything, we'll make it narrower. You would only understand that need if you actually lanesplit or filter with a Tango or bike. The narrower you are the tighter spaces you can fit through comfortably. For details on the Lithium pack and photos, please see blog on the web site http://www.commutercars.com
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hi again Rick
        I got a notice from ABG about 7 hours ago that you had answered again but I don't see a message. if you did and it got lost please repost
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just for the record, we don't all see it like Timo.

      I want a Tango, and I want one as soon as possible.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe I should have added "much". Sell much. There are always someone that would buy it (like you), but generally car needs to look good to sell. IMO Tango doesn't look good. A bit larger wheels and a bit more streamlined side profile would do wonders for that particular problem.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can say with all honesty that most people love the look of the Tango. I've had some say that they had to see it in person to really appreciate it. Youngsters go crazy over it. There is no design that appeals to everyone. Some people even loved the look of the Aztec.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Once again the X-prize group has lowered the requirements to allow for the teams that can't to advance. 90 MPGe shows this. I guess that is why Progressive did not do a national promotion campaign on Major network using Flo. They did not want to risk the damage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good to know they have a wells to wheel calculation in the test(that is what the 200g/mile cap is), it levels the playing field between power sources.

      This means you don't simply drop batteries in an un-aerodynamic box and win the competition.

      But it is really looking like at the end, everyone will fail and there will be no payout. Which sucks. I think there should still be some payout for top teams.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What I am missing here? A frequent argument here is that even with a coal fired power plant an EV has a smaller carbon footprint than an ICV. Yet we have seen announcement after announcement of European models with less than 100 grams of carbon per kilometer which is about 162 grams per mile. That is better than the cut off for this EV competition?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That 100g/km is only tank-to-wheels. The APX is evaluating well-to-wheels emissions, so the numbers are significantly higher.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is not an EV competition, it's open to any type of drivetrain and they have a MPGe formula to calculate how efficient the car is. I'm not sure how they calculate this formula because the assumptions they make are critical to the results.

        If you're running an EV in Washington state then you're probably 80% hydro/nuke/renewables which gives you nearly zero CO2/km. That same car running in a dirty coal powered area in the Northeast might put out about 200gCO2/km. They probably assume something like 600g/CO2 per kWh which was the national average for electricity consumption in 2008 (but which improved about 4.5% in 2009 and the trend looked to continue).

        But I think the point you're really getting to (and which I agree with) is that this competition seems to be out of date. I think there will be production cars from major manufacturers on the road which will meet many of the goals of the the Automotive X-Prize even before it is finished.

        They had good intentions when they announced the competition a few years ago, but reality has passed it up already. Not in most real world cars obviously, but in what is capable and what will be real world in the next year or two for production cars.
        I wouldn't be surprised to see some type of diesel based hybrid production car getting 100mpg by 2013.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who cares? I mean really, does anybody want any of these cars? Maybe a few ABG readers, but they're never going mainstream and clean cars are coming online now. Shop class electric car stories are cool, for about 5 minutes. I'm growing tired of seeing these posts, I know I know, I can scroll on by, but when will they stop? The cars all suck, give somebody the money and be done with it. Maybe they can use the cash to reverse engineer a volt or something.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Aw...I was really rooting for Tata. So none of the others has had their run yet, no one has actually passed on to the last stage. The others I am rooting for are Aptera and Li-ion's Wave II. I like the cars that
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