Tag: X-Prize

By on November 3, 2010

Having won the Automotive X-Prize (if only in the “Alternative” class), Li-ion Motors was all set to become the next big thing in alt-energy auto startups. And, based on its winning X-Prize entry, the Wave II, it seemed that Li-ion was focused on small, practical electric cars. Not so. Li-ion has showed up at the annual SEMA tuner-fest with its first production-intent vehicle, the Inizio… and it’s essentially a slightly faster but more expensive (and uglier) Tesla Roadster. It barely beats the Tesla’s 3.7 second 0-60 time (at 3.4 seconds), and can achieve 170 mph compared to the Tesla’s 125 (for those times you want a big speeding ticket and a run-down battery). Li-ion also expects it to cost 140,000 to the Tesla’s $110,000… and it won’t be ready for two years anyway, by which time Audi will already be eating Tesla’s lunch.

Oh, and if you think that Tesla’s on financially shaky ground, consider that Li-ion has been accused of being a shell game (or, a “bunch of thieves”), has run afoul of the SEC, and reportedly has to spend $75k of its X-Prize money settling a lawsuit. Even the most ardent Tesla-basher has to admit that, compared to this latest EV sportscar pretender, the Silicon Valley startup looks pretty darn good.

By on May 4, 2010

Three-wheeled cars offer unique advantages in aerodynamic design and build costs, but they also work from a fundamental disadvantage in terms of handling. Put simply, three wheels can not possibly generate the same levels of mechanical grip as a four-wheel design. EV startup Aptera, which recently unveiled its “design intent” 2e EV, found out just how hard it can be to make a three-wheeled design operate to mainstream standards during shakedowns for the Automotive X-Prize in which it is competing.
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