Automotive X Prize winner Li-ion Motors may have tarnished its reputation soon after the Wave II claimed the top spot in the Alternative Side-by-Side Class. As we reported previously, four out of the five teams competing in the category signed an agreement, drafted on spiral bound notebook paper, just minutes before the final race to split the $2.5 million purse based on an agreed-upon formula. Now Li-ion is asserting that the agreement is void because all five teams remaining at that point did not participat and they are under no obligation to share the winnings with the other three teams that signed the agreement. According to a news release the company posted on its website (along with a scan of the actual agreement):
Li-ion agreed to the prize sharing arrangement based on all teams participating. That proposal called for the first place prize winner to receive $1.7 mil, 2nd place would receive $400K, 3rd, $200K, 4th and 5th would receive $ 100K each. 8 minutes before the race, the company was informed that RaceAbout from Finland did not sign the agreement. Having only a couple of minutes before the race started, Li-ion Motors attempted to obtain board approval if it wanted to have an agreement with only 4 teams participating, but was unable to do so prior to the start of the race. Therefore, due to the decision of RaceAbout from Finland, the proposed agreement never became final.
What's interesting is that the scan (read it here) shows that the agreement specifically reads that the undersigned teams will share the prize purse with "any undersigned teams" and only breaks out the prize distribution to four places.

In any case, this latest move by Li-ion, which has a troubled past, has surely done some damage to its integrity and could end up costing the company more than sharing $800,000 with its competitors. Says Randy Reisinger of the German team TW4XP, one of the teams that signed the agreement:
The British Columbia Securities Commission has already suspended trading of their stock. As news of their methods spreads, can the Frankfurt Xetra Exchange in Germany be far behind?
[Source: New York Times]

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