With the release of the results of efficiency testing from Week 1 of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, followers of the competition might be wondering why vehicles that didn't quite reach 100 MPGe on the track are moving on to Week 2 events.
As it turns out, to qualify for their share of the $10 million Grand Prize, teams must average 100 MPGe when their on-track results are combined with results from the lab. Thus, a team whose vehicle didn't quite peg 100 MPGe at the speedway could conceivably make up the difference during Validation Stage testing next month.
Given this, competition officials set the bar at 90 MPGe as the number to beat to progress to the next stage. For example, one of Edison2's entries (#97) came in at 95.6 MPGe and Western Washington University's vehicle (#45) scored 97.2 MPGe on last week's efficiency test. Presuming they pass the remaining tests, both cars will advance to the next stage.
With the on-track elements behind them, the surviving Finalists move on to coast down testing at Chrysler's Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan where each vehicle will be instrumented, accelerated up to 80 mph on a flat level road course, put in neutral (or its equivalent), and quite literally coasted to a stop. Sensors record three key pieces of data: (1) Aerodynamic Resistance, (2) Rolling Resistance, and (3) Mechanical Resistance. Each is a key input to the Validation Stage testing.
Validation Stage testing will be conducted throughout August at Argonne National Lab facilities just outside Chicago. There, on-track performance will be verified on dynamometers and final eligibility for the Grand Prize will be determined. The winners will be announced at a formal awards ceremony in Washington, DC September 16.