The Michigan International Speedway is abuzz this week with the Automotive X Prize teams competing in the efficiency and range tests in the Knockout phase of the competition. The efficiency tests determine if the vehicles are capable of achieving at least 67 MPGe in urban and city driving. In the range test, occurring today, vehicles must achieve a range of at least 68 miles or 34 laps around the track for alternative-class vehicles. The mainstream class has to get at least 134 miles or 67 laps.
So, far two more teams have been eliminated in this Knockout phase: Enginer Hybrid Steam Vehicle and Global E G1. We expect to see the list of competitors whittled down even further as teams work like mad to pass these tests and move on to complete next week’s acceleration, braking, and avoidance-maneuver tests conducted by Consumer Reports’ staff.
Of note, the funky looking Aptera three-wheeler has gained a fair amount of attention during the competition, and not just because of the car’s futuristic styling. The well-funded team has stood apart from its competitors, literally, with an impressive 18-wheel hauler serving as a mobile base, rather than the congested, shared garages. In the Shakedown phase, the three-wheeler struggled with the handling tests. (See the Aptera video.) Since then, the company has worked further on the vehicle. Like many teams, Aptera seems to be wrestling with some challenges in the Knockout phase. We hope to see the team next week in our accident avoidance maneuver test.