While the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is over, its legacy lives on through the teams who took part in the competition. Teams will provide updates from time-to-time so that we may share their post-competition experiences and achievements. This latest entry is from Kevin Smith, the leader of Mainstream team, Illuminati Motor Works.
Although the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE has come to a close, Illuminati Motor Works (IMW) is continuing our journey spurred on by this competition. And, I should note, that although the competition is over, our involvement with the X PRIZE Foundation has not ended. The foundation is continuing its work with many of the teams in different ways, including: vehicle testing and engineering support/design through the voucher program with the DOE and Roush; continuing press and PR support; and advising teams of available promotional opportunities to display their vehicles at various car shows and events across the country.
Credit: John Shore/X PRIZE Foundation, 2010
I know everyone that’s been following us likes to be kept informed of what’s going on, and when we don’t post, they sometimes feel like we’ve deserted them. (I know that because I feel the same way…and I should really be the one that knows what’s going on.) But, when post are no longer a ‘have to' (like homework), you tend not to get around to them. It feels more like being a kid and having to clean your room (no offense to the 16.3 people out there that actually like cleaning their rooms), and it’s one of those Leave It to Beaver, "Ah gee, Mom, do I have to?" type of feelings…well, until you get typing. Then, anyone who’s followed, read, watched, listened, or grown old as I go on my most recent tangent, knows that I don’t really have a problem going on for a bit. In fact, here’s some of that super-secret inside-information that I’m probably not supposed to tell.
We’re still working out the details and stuff (those are both highly technical terms, for definitions please visit our other posts) with Roush and the X PRIZE Foundation for the engineering work and testing to be performed on Seven. However, these things don’t just happen overnight (kind of like my blogs, and "We’ll keep you posted as things progress."). Work on Seven continues. We’ve done a lot more testing and refining of the battery pack (a.k.a balancing and cleaning, some stuff like that, you know, the normal EV blog post type stuff), but we've also been doing some stuff (there's that technical term again) that no other EV has ever done, well, that we know of.
Last month, we drove Seven from Springfield to Champaign, Illinois, towing a small trailer carrying Tom Weiss' Rocket Trike. That's over 100 miles at an average speed of 68 mph, with three adults, a loaded trunk, 200 lbs of gear, a trailer and a rocket trike. We made the trip on a single charge while averaging 138MPGe. (Did I mention the 20+ mph side winds that day?)
Very few electric cars have a range in excess of 100 miles on a charge, let alone 100 + miles while pulling a trailer. My wife thought I was nuts for trying it -- no chase vehicle, no planned places to stop to recharge, up until 2 a.m. the night before trying to modify a trailer, add wiring for trailer lights and get Seven charged for the trip...then go. Well, she's usually right, but nuts or not, we made it with charge to spare (not a lot to spare, mind you).
So, what am I getting at? Where does this leave us? With the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE over, and having very little opportunity to raise funds to start manufacturing Sevens, there is still one avenue.
One of the of the founding principles of the X PRIZE is still open to us, and that's education. Prove what can be done, and show people how to do it. As you know, we've always put all of our information, good or bad, out there for everyone to see. And, so far, we're pretty happy with our results. But, we want to push the envelope further, show everyone what can be done with a limited budget and little time, and how are we going to do it? Well....
Starting this next spring we're taking on Guinness! The Guinness Book of World Records, that is.
We're going to set as many records as possible. Maybe we'll even set a new number of records held by a single vehicle, definitely for any EV. And, again, we'll do it all on a limited budget. I mean, if you think about it, anyone should be able to set a record if they throw enough money at it. The real challenge is showing it can be done without spending $5million, or even $1million.
And, that’s exactly what we’re going to do -- continue the work that the X PRIZE started, and show the world, and keep showing them, just what is possible. We’ll show them by doing! And, not just once, but as many times as humanly possible. And, we’ll keep breaking records until everybody has heard and seen what an electric car can do. We will break records until everyone knows that it is possible to have an efficient vehicle that also meets or exceeds current production vehicle standards. We will break records until Seven is a household name, and those households have not just asked, but demanded, better performance from their vehicles. We'll break records until those households are all driving Sevens, Eights, and Nines, no matter who is manufacturing them, because the public will know what is possible, and they will hold our political leaders accountable to make the changes necessary for our energy independent future.
The technology is here.
It is time we make a stand.
Illuminati Motor Works has accepted the challenge to lead the way.
AUDERE EST FACERE!