Edison2's Very Light Car – Click above for high-res image gallery

This week, the Finals Stage of the Automotive X-Prize finally begins and, as we found our recently, only one team has any hope of driving away with the $5 million mainstream prize. That team is Edison2, which has two cars still competing in the category, both versions of the Very Light Car we first met at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. There are also 13 vehicles competing in the alternative classes. The AXP sent out a release today describing what is planned for the Finals Stage:
During this stage, teams will compete in emissions, efficiency, and range events conducted by the competition organizers. In addition, teams must successfully complete various dynamic safety events, including a 0-60 mph acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and a double lane change avoidance maneuver, conducted and evaluated by automotive engineers from Consumer Reports. The top finalists in each class will be announced July 27 prior to the start of a "coast down" exercise that will allow competition organizers to gain key performance information about the aerodynamics and rolling resistance of each vehicle to properly prepare them for the Validation Stage to be held at Argonne National Labs in August. Winners will be announced in September in Washington, D.C.
As we can see in this PDF, the two cars that Edison2 has left in the mainstream class were tested at 67.3 and 80.3 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge). Those numbers were good enough to pass the Knockout Stage (where 66 mpge was the important number), but there's a long way to go from there to 100 mpge, one of the benchmarks needed to win the X-Prize. One of the cars did manage to reach 101.4 mpge during the Knockout Stage, but took an eight lap penalty for "working on the car" during the highway test cycle and "for failure to meet minimum lap time requirements." We'll get more information on what this means when we visit the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI later this week.

We'll also investigate the other important questions here: What are the Very Light Car's chances to win this thing? If Edison2 doesn't make it, then what happens? Will there be a second Automotive X-Prize to award the $5 million mainstream award? We'll ask soon. Until then, you can read Edison2's words about these cars here. Also, there's a video of how Consumer Reports is testing the cars after the jump.

Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Edison2, Automotive X-Prize, Damien Somerset]

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