Two $2.5 million prize for vehicles that can hold two people and travel one hundred miles between charges or fill-ups. This was divided between side-by-side seating and tandem (front and rear) seating. There was no requirement for the number of wheels in these classes.
All three classes had to get 100 MPG or the equivalent in electricity, referred to as "MPGe," and produce CO2 emissions of less than 200 grams/mile. What does this mean? Gas-powered vehicles needed to average at least 100 MPG. CO2 for electric motors were figured as the average produced to generate power country-wide; losses for converting electricity from the grid to charge the battery packs was also taken into consideration. 100 MPGe would be equal to 21 kWh, but when the CO2 measurements are taken into account this falls to 16 kWh.
These vehicles must also be highway legal, meeting minimum requirements for braking and acceleration speeds while carrying safety equipment including headlights, turn signals, and windshield wipers.
The committee received 111 applicants which underwent a design competition. These applicants had to provide a business plan showing that they could manufacture 10,000 vehicles and any required infrastructure by 2014 while meeting U.S. safety and emissions requirements. Judging completed in October 2009 narrowing the field to 43 competitors.
This was followed by the Shakedown Stage running from April 26th to May 7th, 2010 at Michigan International Speedway. After basic safety, handling, and acceleration tests twenty-two teams with twenty-seven vehicles remained.
On June 16th the teams returned to the speedway for the Knockout Stage. Over the next two weeks the cars had to reach 66 MPGe and pass emissions tests while performing range and acceleration tests. Just fifteen cars survived the event.
The remaining teams returned a month later for the Final Stage in which the cars raced for speed and fuel economy. Only one Mainstream class and one Tandem class vehicle completed this stage, while the Side-by-side class had five surviving entries.
These remaining seven cars were sent to the EPA labs in Ann Arbor to verify fuel efficiency under laboratory conditions. After this test the three Automotive X Prize winners were finally chosen:
Mainstream: Edison2 Very Light Car
Powered by an E85-fueled turbocharged 250cc engine, this pontoon-fendered car weighs just 850 lbs.
Tandem: X-Tracer E-Tracer
This full-cabin electric motorcycle uses outrigger wheels to stay upright at slow speeds.
Side-by-side: Li-ion Motors Corp Wave II
This three-wheeled vehicle won the final stage by just 0.179 seconds.