X-Tracer – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Swiss team behind the very unusual-looking X-Tracer electric vehicles had a bit of unnecessary drama at the Michigan International Speeday yesterday during the last day of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize's technical inspection. The team brought two vehicles, which drive on two wheels but use four when parked, over from Switzerland but spent most of Wednesday worrying that one of them would need to be taken out of competition already.

Regular readers will remember the X-Tracer the vehicle that used to be known as the E Tracer. There is also an ICE version of the car available called the MonoTracer. "Electric drive really matches this configuration," X-Tracer team member Felix Wagner said. With a Cd of .19, the X-Tracer can go 150 miles at 75-80 miles per hour using a $13,000 7 kWh battery.

Wagner told AutoblogGreen that car #72, which uses a powertrain system – motor, inverter, battery management system, etc. – from Brusa, passed the technical inspection. Car #79 (there are only two cars) uses a kit system from AC Propulsion, which doesn't provide the same type of ground fault security that the PIAXP is looking for. Wagner said the team ordered a new ground fault inspection switch that was supposed to arrive at the MIS Wednesday morning, but UPS tracking showed it was still in Kentucky. The deadline for passing the technical inspection test was late Wednesday, and if the part didn't arrive in time, the team would be forced to carry on with only one car. Wagner said the PIAXP had been understanding and helpful with situations like this, but rules are rules. Later in the day, Wagner emailed us to say:
We were able to demonstrate the function of the AC-150 GND fault detector and can now continue the shakedown stage with both vehicles. The PIAXP stuff was very helpful!
So, that's one more hurdle cleared. Even without the ground fault drama, the team has not had it easy getting this far in the competition. The two X-Tracers almost didn't make it to the U.S. because of the Icelandic volcano that shut down European air traffic for a while, but the team found space to ship them on a Swiss World Cargo plane. Then there was the issue with U.S. Customs, about which Wagner would only say, "That's a story for another day."

Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

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