The first Progressive Automotive X Prize, a one-year race to design an ultra-efficient car that’s “safe, affordable and desirable”, winner has been announced and it runs on E85.
According to the New York Times, The Very Light Car, built by Virginia company Edison2, won the $5 million first prize with 100 mpg and the lowest carbon footprint of all contestants. Its gasoline engine, which ran on E85, beat out dozens of electric and hybrid cars, vehicles currently thought to be among the most efficient available.
David Friedman, who directs the Clean Vehicle Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists said, “While these [X Prize] vehicles may not be what we’re going to see on the road in the next decade, they really do point to a lot of the ingredients that we need to get to 60 miles per gallon, or more, in the next 15 years.”
The auto industry has targeted a goal for vehicles to receive 60 miles per gallon (mpg), “Just last year automakers supported reaching 35+ mpg by 2016, and before we have even achieved those new heights, the calls have begun to almost double mileage,” said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers. “Clearly we live in a period of extreme political volatility, and some groups are promoting their political wish list prior to the elections,” he said.
For automakers, the question is how to do it. They have offered more efficient gasoline cars in recent years, but some are betting big on electric and plug-in hybrid cars.