The Washington Post reports that a Virginia development team has won the bulk of the $10 million purse offered by the X Prize Foundation to develop a passenger car which can go 100 miles on a single tank of gas. The Edison2 team, headed by developed Oliver Kuttner, received the top honors in the international contest sponsored by Progressive Insurance and the United States Department of Energy.
The team’s Very Light Car was able to achieve incredible gas mileage by using ultra-lightweight materials and a lighter combustion engine instead of the bulky batteries found in most hybrid or electric cars. In addition, the team turned to race cars for their design tips, creating an aerodynamically refined car with minimal drag.
The car produces gas mileage which is twice that of a Toyota Prius. However, there could be obstacles before the design sees the road. One major concern is safety: the design which won the X Prize did not have air-bags, side safety mirrors or other mandatory safety features.