Automotive X PRIZE Track Testing Begins This Week

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We've been following the Automotive X PRIZE for over a year now, and it's finally getting to the cars-on-course phase, pitting 28 teams against each other on the track to determine which of their 36 vehicles embodies not just high-efficiency but also a real-world, streetable design. The testing will take place at Michigan International Speedway over the next three months.

The goal is to exceed 100 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) while also exhibiting suitable performance. The mpge figure is in place because not all of the vehicles run on conventional combustion engines.

Testing will consist of three stages: Shakedown, Knockout Qualifying, and Finals. Shakedown is exactly what it sounds like: an unscored stage that gives teams and officials a chance to check the vehicles out and make sure they're safe and ready for the real competition. It takes place April 26-May 7. Then Knockout Qualifying, June 20-28, will determine which of the vehicles best meets the dual goals of real-world producibility and efficiency. Finally, the aptly-named Finals will pick the cream of the crop July 19-30.

Once that's done, in August the teams will head to the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Illinois to undergo official validation testing before the winners in the two classes are announced. One winner will be from the "mainstream" group, a set of vehicles intended to meet typical road-use needs, and the "alternative" group, a set of more experimental or non-standard vehicles. The winners will split a $10 million purse.

Aptera and Tesla Motors have both been involved with the X PRIZE, though only Aptera is still in it to win it in the "alternative" category. Tesla Motors is no longer competing for the cash, having dropped out of the race in December.

Check out page two for a complete list of the teams and the fuels their cars are using, and hit up the link below to visit the official competition site.

[Automotive X PRIZE]

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