With only one finalist in the Mainstream Class still standing prior to the Validation Stage in the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize, it came as no surprise that the Edison2 team from Lynchburg, VA., with its Very Light Car (VLC), took home the crown. What began as a competition between 136 vehicles from 111 teams and later narrowed down to just nine elite finalists, ended with three class winners and $10 million awarded.
Capturing victory in the Mainstream Class, Edison2's Very Light Car (VLC) sits on a 100-inch wheelbase, weighs in at a scant 830 pounds and is propelled by a rear-mounted, single-cylinder motorcycle engine that burns a blend of ethanol and gasoline to crank out 40 horsepower. Edison2's victory did not come easy. Troubles throughout the competition threatened the team's chances of winning, but Edison2 pushed on and stood alone as the only team in the Mainstream Class to complete all of the grueling stages of the competition and thus walk away as the winner and $5 million richer.
So, on to the final remaining question: What's next? We'll let Oliver Kuttner, founder of Edison2 say it himself:
The X Prize is only the beginning. We need to demonstrate that low-mass cars can be safe and meet FMVSS safety standards. We need to show how our Light Car principles can dramatically improve efficiency for electric, hybrid, diesel and natural gas systems. And we need to create cars to fit the wide needs of consumers: SUV's, family sedans, sports and utility models – all light, aerodynamic, safe and incredibly efficient.