Revolution Through Competition: The Race To Develop a 100 MPGe Car

Automotive X PRIZE



"The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE was a global competition that awarded $10 million to three teams that built cars that achieved at least 100 MPGe in real world driving. These cars were safe, affordable and desirable with the ultimate goal of offering more efficient vehicle choices to consumers.
With our partners at Consumer Reports, we also advanced the adoption of a new consumer metric, called MPGe (Miles per Gallon or gasoline equivalent energy), that offers consumers the ability to make an apples-to-apples comparison of this next generation of vehicles that will use a variety of energy sources and fuels with the conventional cars they drive today.
Progressive Insurance was our Title Sponsor and the U.S. Department Of Energy our major supporter because they believe in incentivizing innovation through competition to reshape the automotive industry. It was truly a public/private partnership.

High-Level Prize Rules

  • Mainstream class entries were required to seat at least four passengers, have four wheels, and have a minimum 200 mile range
  • Alternative class entries opened up the design space a bit by reducing the requirements to seat at least two passengers with a minimum 100 mile range and no minimum on the number of wheels
  • Regardless, to win, vehicles must have completed all on-track tests, demonstrated fuel economy numbers equal to at least 100 MPGe, passed all FMVSS requirements, and completed validation testing on the chassis dynamometer.
  • Beyond these, the fastest time clocked in the Finals Events won


The competition guidelines can be found by clicking the link below.
Download and review the competition guidelines


To inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change.


The competition guidelines were shaped by our philosophy that the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE must:
  • Achieve our main goal (above)
  • Be simple to understand and easy to communicate
  • Benefit the world - this is a global challenge
  • Result in real cars available for purchase, not concept cars
  • Remain independent, fair, non-partisan, and technology-neutral
  • Provide clear technical boundaries (i.e., for fuel-efficiency, emissions, safety, manufacturability, performance, capacity, etc.)
  • Offer a "level playing field" that attracts both existing automobile manufacturers and newcomers
  • Attract a balanced array of private investment, donors, sponsors, and partners to help competitors succeed (e.g., manufacturing assistance, testing resources, etc.)
  • Make heroes out of the competitors and winner(s) through unprecedented exposure, media coverage and a significant cash award
  • Educate the public on key issues

Team name: Edison2
Location: Virginia
Car name: Very Light Car
Status: One alternative model (#96) has been eliminated for failure to meet minimum fuel economy requirement.

Who are they? Lead by European car dealer and racer Oliver Kuttner, Edison2 is a collection of car racing experts, Kuttner has pulled together talent from race car teams, motorsports technology firms, automakers, and the defense industry. There are eight full-time team members and about 52 associates, or consultants. For this competition, they have built four cars on the same platform. They have seating configurations, body materials, and engine tunes. One, a side-by-side two-seater, uses a steel body. The other three are wrapped in carbon fiber.

What they say will set them apart: The team plans to win by numbers. In addition to having four cars to quadruple its chances of making it through the competition, its most important numbers are weight and drag. The cars weigh less than 750 pounds and have a drag coefficient of 0.15, about half that of some of today’s best cars. The cars are powered by turbocharged 250-cc engines (two from Yamaha motorcycles, two of Edison’s own design) running on E85 ethanol. To dramatically reduce pumping losses from the internal combustion engines, the team uses exhaust gas recirculation to control engine power. The team has also patented a compact front suspension, which includes feather-weight 6-lb. wheels designed to act as force-absorbing collapsible elements in a crash. This innovation alone may be worth more than the $10 million XPrize.

Two identical Edison2 cars are the last vehicles remaining in the four-passenger Mainstream class after the Knockout phase of the competition. The Mainstream class by itself accounts for half the $10 million prize money, so if either of the cars passes all the tests in the Finals, the team stands to win $5 million. Of the four vehicles Edison2 entered, the steel-bodied side-by-side two-seat vehicle entered in the Alternative class, failed to meet the minimum 67 MPGe fuel-economy requirement for this round of competition. A third Edison2 car remains in the tandem Alternative class.

Class: Alternative, Mainstream
No. of wheels: Four
Passengers: Two or four
Drive type: Internal combustion engine (E85), rear-wheel-drive
Power source: Yamaha 250cc, 27-50 hp.

For more information, see the Edison team page on the X Prize website.


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