Auto X-Prize's 'Mainstream' Finalist Gets OK to Provide Own Validation Results

By John O'Dell August 17, 2010

Testing With Other Finalists Waived by Organizers Because of Damage to Cars' Engines

Team Edison2 remains the only finalist in the "mainstream" vehicles class of Progressive Automotive X Prize's $10 million contest to find a 100-mpg passenger vehicle, but the two cars fielded by Virginia-based auto development group won't be participating with finalists in the other classes during the competition's final phase this month.

Edison2, which was featured in a recent Green Car Advisor post, misinformed the post's author about its two cars' participation in the Validation phase emissions and fuel economy testing at the U.S. Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory's dynamometer this week.

While the Progressive X Prize's Alternative category finalists will go through the Argonne testing - there's $2.5 million up for grabs in the two Alternative categories and $5 million in the Mainstream category - Edison2's cars will be absent, contrary to what the team's R&D director, Brad Jaeger, told Green Car Advisor in an interview last week.

The reason? The E85-burning motorcycle engines that power the cars were damaged by third-party test drivers and are undergoing extensive repair.

The team has been given a waiver that permits it to submit independent third-party dynamometer numbers instead of the Argonne results.

 Edison2 spokesman David Brown said Jaeger's failure to disclose the engine failure and resulting waiver during an telephone interview last week was a "misunderstanding" and said further questions should be directed to to X Prize organizers.

So we called and this is what we have now been told:

  • The tests at Argonne for Edison2 were canceled after the engines of both of the team's vehicles failed during so-called "coast down" testing at Chrysler's Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan. Those tests were conducted after the Automotive X-Prize's on-track final elimination round ended late last month.
  • The engine failures were found to have been caused by third-party drivers of the vehicles, however, and were not blamed on vehicle design or capabilities. So Automotive X-Prize organizers said they are allowing Edison2 to submit third-party dynamometer tests later this month and to remain eligible for the $5 million Mainstream category purse.

Winners of the three Automotive X-Prize categories, if any, are to be announced next month.

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gogogreen says: 1:29 PM, 08.17.10

Thanks for the quickly updated story!

Since 100% of the 4 Edison2 cars have now suffered engine failures, it's hard to believe that the blame for the two mainstream cars' failures is to rest on third-party drivers. The engines on the two alternative class VLCs driven by Edison2's own professional race car drivers were knocked out by engine malfunctions.

Rather than allow third-party dyno test results, Edison2's cars should have their engines replaced and submit to the same testing at Argonne as the rest of the finalists.

dzajic says: 4:02 PM, 08.17.10

This sounds really suspicious. I'd like to know how a driver could ruin an engine when the car is supposed to be production-ready. There should be the normal protection against this, shouldn't there?

jed12 says: 8:13 PM, 08.17.10

The engine must not be very solid or the transmission was not intuitive enough for the experienced test driver to operate. That would imply that the average driver would tear up the car in less than a day. That is not production ready or consumer friendly.
If they want to validate the cars, they should repeat the entire test so that the powetrains will have the same amount of hours on them as the failed ones, if they can survive. So far, they are 4 for 4 in engine failures.
Use of third party results means X Prize invalidates their own results. Seems unfair to the other competitors that abided by the rules. Better to have no winner than a propped up phoney.

greenpony says: 10:18 AM, 08.18.10

"Better to have no winner than a propped up phoney."

Yes.

tshire says: 10:33 PM, 08.18.10

If Team Edison2 and X-Prize organizers don't provide a little more transparency regarding these engine failures, the cynicism and suspicions exemplified in the comments posted above this one will reign supreme.

Full disclosure is the best policy. Then we can get back to business without a taint of favoritism or manipulation.

oliverk says: 1:37 PM, 08.22.10

The cars were taken into impound after the finals.
Car Number 98 by that time had over 7000 miles of testing on it including third party drivers at Roush Industries and unattended coastdown drivers at the Ford Proving Grounds.
At Chrysler the drivers drove both cars to the oval and warmed them up. Because the cars have data acquisition systems on board we were able to reconstruct exactly what happened;
First some background: the cars have single cylinder turbo engines that put out 200 hp per liter. They rev from 2000 to 8000 in normal operation. They sound different because there are fewer explosions.
Because the cars consume relatively little fuel the light up of the catalyst is a problem. The only way we were able to meet the emissions (We have an EPA certified cold start certification of the requested standard) we had to install the catalyst between the head and the turbo thereby introducing a lot of turbo lag. This is the first such installation we know of.
In time this "lag" can be designed away but in the short x prize time frame it is not possible as all the parts (catalyst etc) are to a different scale and have to be hand made which creates a time problem.
Further you must know that we shift the cars by pulling the sequential shifter back to up-shift
(like in a BMW or any racing car). At Chrysler you up-shift by pushing the lever away from your shoulder to the right.
The cars handle very well (1.18 on skidpad as per Consumer Union)and are fun to drive. As they warm up the cat breathers and there is a bit of a buffer of pressure and they become quick...
In each case the Chrysler drivers decided to accelerate quickly getting ready for the coast down and hit the rev limiter in 3rd and 2nd respectively. When you hit the rev limiter by itself nothing happens except some lights light up on the dash which is in the steering wheel.
In both cases they panicked and pushed the shifter away (forward) meaning to up-shift (as they would in a Chrysler), in both cases they took the red lined engine up another 3000 plus rpm and bent the valves and damaged the pistons. It was an unfortunate error likely only to happen to Chrysler test drivers...
Edison2 did destroy one other engine by their own doing. This was done by resetting the launch control release inadvertently. A clear error and it caused the expiration of an engine by our own engine management system.
The other engine was running hot due to the failure of a main brand throttle control body that proved defective. The car worked fine it just could not do its given job at the exact moment the x prize required and, as opposed to some who cried, we accepted that we did not do the duty at hand and sadly let that car be.
The fact is the Edison2 cars are very well developed but are only prototypes and proofs of concept. They did 111 (without penalty) MPGe combined and 129 MPGe on the highway. Had they been electric they would have been well over 300 as the electric cars did not have to do the thermal conversion in the rules prescribed (and by Edison2 accepted and understood) "plug to wheel" method. The cars show a clear path forward and underline this gravity of their achievement by being the only ICE propelled cars to go past the finals. This is further underlined by the fact that Edison2 is here to stay and has real industry interest.
The X Prize was there to find a solution (or suggestion of a path forward) to a big problem.
It did so, even the last of the conventional cars that was converted electric failed in the end.
The message is clear that to achieve a cleaner and more efficient tomorrow we must rethink the car itself. All the finalists would agree on this regardless of drive system.
Noone said it would be easy. Edison2 has much work to do and intends to be the spark to get others to look where they have shown is fertile ground.
Now, Edison2 designed cars that did 111 MPG not by guessing or hoping. We had at least one car in an EPA certified lab every day since April 2010.
We ran well over 50 tests and even more segments.
We have the data in EPA approved protocol certified form.
The reason we have many cars is because a development program like this can not be done in the time with one car. We had to have cars testing while others were modified. The positive unintended consequence is that without a doubt our cars have done more testing than all the other finalists together, they had to because as an ICE they were fighting to a higher hurdle.

That said we have a facebook page Edison2 in which we disclose everything to our followers. We also answer every question and if we do not know we find out. The day after we were allowed we explained this in detail.
It is not for us to manage PIAXP affairs. We are easy to reach and we are only interested in finding a solution for a problem. PIAXP asked us specifically to let them announce how they want to handle the situation until they have had time to review the data we gathered and then provided to them. Being that some of it is quite technical and several people had to review it it was a fair request. Edison2 was not misleading as two cars were indeed at Argonne until Friday 8/20 as others had to inspect them for other reasons.
I must say I am disappointed in the negative attitude. In the blogs people tend to only criticize. The Edison2 cars my not be to your liking, however they are a good first try. For example the Chrysler coast down figures showed that the cars require 3.5 hp to go 50 mph. That is a record. The FMVSS side impact analysis had the cars display a load of 17 G on the occupant of an allowed 70G. Much of this information was not published because many competitors did not have any numbers let alone good ones.
Edison2 is a group of engineers trying to make a change for the better. We do not attack other teams (though we certainly could) and we do not attack the X Prize. We are grateful that we have found a solution that is worth pursuing. We are grateful to the X Prize to give us a podium. We have spent millions and almost 100 man years on this project and intend to spend more.
If you want to ride in a VLC after September 20th you can come to our shop and do this.
We are grateful to have met some other individuals from other teams for which we have nothing but respect (which is mutual).
If you go to our webpage you will see some of our past projects. We do know what we are doing. We are not done and we never claimed to be.
Nevertheless we are designing a car that if we get it right will allow new possibilities which are in all our interests. It is time to rethink the platform, regardless if electric or ICE.

oliverk says: 1:38 PM, 08.22.10

The cars were taken into impound after the finals.
Car Number 98 by that time had over 7000 miles of testing on it including third party drivers at Roush Industries and unattended coastdown drivers at the Ford Proving Grounds.
At Chrysler the drivers drove both cars to the oval and warmed them up. Because the cars have data acquisition systems on board we were able to reconstruct exactly what happened;
First some background: the cars have single cylinder turbo engines that put out 200 hp per liter. They rev from 2000 to 8000 in normal operation. They sound different because there are fewer explosions.
Because the cars consume relatively little fuel the light up of the catalyst is a problem. The only way we were able to meet the emissions (We have an EPA certified cold start certification of the requested standard) we had to install the catalyst between the head and the turbo thereby introducing a lot of turbo lag. This is the first such installation we know of.
In time this "lag" can be designed away but in the short x prize time frame it is not possible as all the parts (catalyst etc) are to a different scale and have to be hand made which creates a time problem.
Further you must know that we shift the cars by pulling the sequential shifter back to up-shift
(like in a BMW or any racing car). At Chrysler you up-shift by pushing the lever away from your shoulder to the right.
The cars handle very well (1.18 on skidpad as per Consumer Union)and are fun to drive. As they warm up the cat breathers and there is a bit of a buffer of pressure and they become quick...
In each case the Chrysler drivers decided to accelerate quickly getting ready for the coast down and hit the rev limiter in 3rd and 2nd respectively. When you hit the rev limiter by itself nothing happens except some lights light up on the dash which is in the steering wheel.
In both cases they panicked and pushed the shifter away (forward) meaning to up-shift (as they would in a Chrysler), in both cases they took the red lined engine up another 3000 plus rpm and bent the valves and damaged the pistons. It was an unfortunate error likely only to happen to Chrysler test drivers...
Edison2 did destroy one other engine by their own doing. This was done by resetting the launch control release inadvertently. A clear error and it caused the expiration of an engine by our own engine management system.
The other engine was running hot due to the failure of a main brand throttle control body that proved defective. The car worked fine it just could not do its given job at the exact moment the x prize required and, as opposed to some who cried, we accepted that we did not do the duty at hand and sadly let that car be.
The fact is the Edison2 cars are very well developed but are only prototypes and proofs of concept. They did 111 (without penalty) MPGe combined and 129 MPGe on the highway. Had they been electric they would have been well over 300 as the electric cars did not have to do the thermal conversion in the rules prescribed (and by Edison2 accepted and understood) "plug to wheel" method. The cars show a clear path forward and underline this gravity of their achievement by being the only ICE propelled cars to go past the finals. This is further underlined by the fact that Edison2 is here to stay and has real industry interest.
The X Prize was there to find a solution (or suggestion of a path forward) to a big problem.
It did so, even the last of the conventional cars that was converted electric failed in the end.
The message is clear that to achieve a cleaner and more efficient tomorrow we must rethink the car itself. All the finalists would agree on this regardless of drive system.
Noone said it would be easy. Edison2 has much work to do and intends to be the spark to get others to look where they have shown is fertile ground.
Now, Edison2 designed cars that did 111 MPG not by guessing or hoping. We had at least one car in an EPA certified lab every day since April 2010.
We ran well over 50 tests and even more segments.
We have the data in EPA approved protocol certified form.
The reason we have many cars is because a development program like this can not be done in the time with one car. We had to have cars testing while others were modified. The positive unintended consequence is that without a doubt our cars have done more testing than all the other finalists together, they had to because as an ICE they were fighting to a higher hurdle.

That said we have a facebook page Edison2 in which we disclose everything to our followers. We also answer every question and if we do not know we find out. The day after we were allowed we explained this in detail.
It is not for us to manage PIAXP affairs. We are easy to reach and we are only interested in finding a solution for a problem. PIAXP asked us specifically to let them announce how they want to handle the situation until they have had time to review the data we gathered and then provided to them. Being that some of it is quite technical and several people had to review it it was a fair request. Edison2 was not misleading as two cars were indeed at Argonne until Friday 8/20 as others had to inspect them for other reasons.
I must say I am disappointed in the negative attitude. In the blogs people tend to only criticize. The Edison2 cars my not be to your liking, however they are a good first try. For example the Chrysler coast down figures showed that the cars require 3.5 hp to go 50 mph. That is a record. The FMVSS side impact analysis had the cars display a load of 17 G on the occupant of an allowed 70G. Much of this information was not published because many competitors did not have any numbers let alone good ones.
Edison2 is a group of engineers trying to make a change for the better. We do not attack other teams (though we certainly could) and we do not attack the X Prize. We are grateful that we have found a solution that is worth pursuing. We are grateful to the X Prize to give us a podium. We have spent millions and almost 100 man years on this project and intend to spend more.
If you want to ride in a VLC after September 20th you can come to our shop and do this.
We are grateful to have met some other individuals from other teams for which we have nothing but respect (which is mutual).
If you go to our webpage you will see some of our past projects. We do know what we are doing. We are not done and we never claimed to be.
Nevertheless we are designing a car that if we get it right will allow new possibilities which are in all our interests. It is time to rethink the platform, regardless if electric or ICE.

gogogreen says: 9:08 AM, 08.23.10

Thank you, oliverk, for weighing in. The X Prize hasn't effectively communicated what has been going on since finals and the dearth of information is leading to misinformation and ugly speculation (which I apologize for taking part in). I really appreciate your taking the time to clarify what went on at Chrysler.

oliverk says: 6:44 PM, 08.23.10

I thank you for your kind comment and I understand. Like you I am hungry for information about better ways forward and like you I find the general shortness of real and good information frustrating. It is our intention to let people know what we learn. It is a new field with many unanswered questions. We certainly made many assumptions and mistakes. The good news, as demonstrated especially at the end of the
X Prize, is that there are ways to do better. I immensely enjoyed it and felt like I went back to school. It is my intention to dedicate the rest of my life to this and many of my co-racers feel similarly. Please do always communicate if you think we know an answer
regards Oliver Kuttner

getareellife says: 7:11 PM, 08.23.10

Oliver,
Thank you for the detailed response to my questions to the X Prize staff. I respect what you and your team have accomplished. As a former competitor, one of only 4 mainstream teams that entered knockout without "issues" I get what you and your team undertook to get to the finals. Congratulations!

Since you have been most vocal regarding a lot of issues during the competition, please indulge me for a couple.

As I stated to you at shakedown when the two of us were bantering about which team would win, you or us, I like your design, a lot, from the standpoint of efficient functionality. Practicality, however, is not a forte of your design. I simply don't see your car in its current form as a production vehicle on any significant level. Furthermore, when you have to ultimately add in all of the creature comforts, safety equipment and other misc weight gaining apparatus plus a larger engine to carry four people I doubt you will be at the mpge level you currently exhibit. If I am wrong, I will eat some well seasoned crow.

Regarding the coastdown incidents I still can not wrap my head around a third party driver burning up not just one, but both of your car's engines. I think you would agree that the rules we read were clear on the level of "intuitiveness" required for a car reaching the validation stage. What happened was unfortunate. If it were me, I would be as mad as I was at Knockout when we were required to make last minute changes to our fuel system by the X Prize Tech staff. We were not allowed to sufficiently re calibrate in a "real world" road test. Did this result in us coming up short? You betcha!

I can not fault you for fighting the good fight on getting to the prize. See you in
DC

Thomas

oliverk says: 4:58 AM, 08.24.10

Thomas,
we took the madate of designing a game changing car seriously. We knew that to go from the current best of 50 mpg on an ice car to 100 mpge on an ice we had to do all that we could. Where we went "wrong" was that we underestimated the plug to wheel energy advantage available to the electrics because we assumed that the cars wold have to race in 10 cities and perhaps drive 20k miles which would have rendered many battery packs "off" by the end of the competition.
Even with what we know today we would again go ICE. Mainly because of the credibility of our effort to the industry.
In fact batteries are better than we thought and through shared information we now have confirmed that some teams were able to have a 84% efficiency plug to wheel without "killing" the battery life. That said we feel it is time for a change and we feel that the batteries and in an hybrid extra hardware have to come from somewhere (as does the electricity). In that we feel the only path is to do it with less.
We designed a new way of doing automotive architecture. It is clearly evident by our suspension which fits inside the wheel and obviously performs very well. That small detail can take 400 lbs out of any Mc Pherson strut type car. In our case it became a very light car.
The other part to the equation is price. We must reintroduce margin into the automobile industry in order to have a healthy industry. Our nation is low on money and we are not internationally as competitive as we need to be. There price is your tool.
Our car is a leap in price. If mass produced we have a car that handles better, has a smaller environmental footprint and costs less. That will get some people's attention. We believe that there are people who will make some sacrifices if the rest of the equation is so superior.
That said if you fill our car with features carefully then you still have a very efficient car (maybe at 90 MPG). The aero in our car is almost 100% friction drag as opposed to pressure drag. That reduces those forces by 1/2. The low weight begets low weight components...
Last but not least the structure uses a different approach in an accident. It is all about deflection. While there will be accidents where the occupant will loose (like when crushed betweentwo trucks) There will be many where they will fare better (like in an offset crash or in a single car accident or in a side impact).
YOu can not have everything, we tried to come up with a good starting point, an elegant compromise from which to develop.

The fact that two people blew our engines was bejond my imagination also. There was no reason to go into the redline. Nevertheless they both did. I am as dumbfounded as you here but it is not my fault. Noone asked people to accelerate as fast as they can (and hit redline) in an unfamiliar car.

The real fact is that we got 111 MPGe combined and 129 MPGe on the highway on the track in an ICE. Those results speak volumes about the promise of what we have for a beginning.

Our car is not a one trick pony, rather it is a complete rethinking of the automobile.
One with promise to build upon using mostly tried and true methods reapplied....

jed12 says: 6:47 PM, 08.24.10

oliverk
Where did your data come from? The finals data from the X-Prize show #97 95.6 MPGe and #98 100.3 MPGe. #95's numbers don't count because the engine failed. Here is the site. http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/sites/default/files/Official_PIAXP_Finals_Results_20100804_ec.pdf
After seeing the video of the overheat problems at the knockout, I'm not surprised that the engines failed. I thought it would be on the dyno instead of the coastdown. Technically, the #97 should have been eliminated by not making the 100 MPGe, but for some strange reason X-Prize changed the rules. 90 MPGe did not benefit the electrics because they still needed to get 104 MPGe to meet the emissions target. That only left Edison 2 and Spira. No disrespect to Spira, whom Mr. Baggy pants insulted with your muted approval, but I did not see them getting the 90 MPGe. Why did X-Prize lower the bar?
In the Olympics, the bar is NOT lowered. A false start can lead to a DQ. A broken shoe string and a tear will not change the minds of the judges.
Your cars were obviously not easy to drive. Justifying being allowed to continue by virtue of a worthy goal or sainthood does not appear to be in the rules. There was a large group of innocent children that were not allowed to continue due to "technical" problems.
Are you slamming the other teams when you say this, "Now, Edison2 designed cars that did 111 MPG not by guessing or hoping." There are many question left unanswered and unasked, but I think there are others that can do it more articulately than I.

getareellife says: 7:26 PM, 08.24.10

Oliver,

Let's put aside the talk and cut to the chase. I challenge any one of your cars to a cross country "trek." You can pick the starting place, I'll pick the finish or whatever. Just let me know when you are able to get the vehicle licensed for on-road use. We can work out the details anytime and I'm sure the "swooning" press will fall over themselves to cover this one. Let's face it, it would be far more real world and entertaining that doing circles in an empty Michigan Motor Speedway.

Best
Thomas
American HyPower

getareellife says: 7:30 PM, 08.24.10

Oliver,

Let's put aside the talk and cut to the chase. I challenge any one of your cars to a cross country "trek." You can pick the starting place, I'll pick the finish or whatever. Just let me know when you are able to get the vehicle licensed for on-road use. We can work out the details anytime and I'm sure the "swooning" press will fall over themselves to cover this one. Let's face it, it would be far more real world and entertaining that doing circles in an empty Michigan Motor Speedway.

Best
Thomas
American HyPower

oliverk says: 6:39 PM, 08.25.10

Hi Thomas,

first I am not insulting you. However putting a big battery into a Toyota Prius and then not counting the energy that was put in the battery pack because it is not from a gallon of gas is smoke and mirrors.
The engineers at Toyota are very good. There is a reason they did not produce the car as a plug in. It is because they know it is not more energy efficient but less so.
The reason we as a society are doing plug ins and electric cars is because we are trying to get off oil. That makes sense.
That said the following is a you tube video of an Acura being driven the way the Chrysler engineers chose to drive our car. In both cases the engines in the Acuras failed the same way. If your Prius was not automatic you could blow it up that way also.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVWceRwGvKw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOnCoqcjDjg&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Separately we are perfectly able to build a car that does not overheat, we have proven it many times on the race track. See the ALMS Ford GT MK VII entered by Robinson racing in last years Petit Le Mans where it had pole position (that car was designed by the main members of our group, Also see the Doran JE4 that won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2004 that was designed by our chief of design Ron Mathis, to name a few).

That said in the efficiency race of the X Price we were running a close compromise between enough cooling and extra cooling duct drag. Finding the compromise takes time and testing. In the X Prize there was not much time so we were, at that time, short of testing.

This problem did not apply to you as you entered a production car built by another firm called Toyota. Personally I think you should accept the fact that you were beat fair and square.
Neither Progressive nor the X Prize put up the prize for people to put a big battery in a Prius. They were looking for a real innovation.
The were willing to give you a platform for showing a detail solution. they were not looking to give you a place to cry.

The 90 MPG for finals was always there because the rule from the beginning stated that the final number would be the average of the track test and the lab test. The average had to be over 100 which was always the rule. If the average has to be over 100 then you must allow some reasonable lower number as it is reasonable to assume that in perfect (lab) conditions one might have a higher number. The numbers we quote are either from an EPA certified lab or form the actual MIS track. The numbers you quote for our cars were also real and were generated in a very windy condition (which we accept as the rules clearly stated "real weather conditions", which in this case were a session followed within one hour by a tornado warning and great storm).
The cut off was set at 90 and it was explained in detail to all the competitors who made it to the finals. You were not there because you did not meet the previous lower hurdle (67 mpg) I assume.
I understand you have sour grapes. One day we will drive one of our cars cross country. There will be nothing that keeps them from doing it as our car is an ICE rescaled and there is no magic here. the magic is our structure and our aerodynamics. However with your attitude I see no reason to do it with you. We have real work to do.

Thomas, people who proclaim that they have solved the energy problem by out engineering the Toyota engineers by putting in a bigger battery pack may have delivered an improvement in a narrow set of circumstance. However the X Prize is looking for a proof of concept or a prototype that shows that there is a leap somewhere. The X Prize was looking for some new landmark engine technology, they were looking for the innovator who could figure out how to increase a battery's energy density by a leap. They were looking for anything that really has promise. There were many that applied and there were many good details. There were some well executed modifications of existing cars like the Saturn of Amp that knew they could not win but nevertheless were able to get 100 MPGe out of a heavy, normal car through a well-done motor control strategy.
Tata delivered some very good numbers before having some issues.
In the end the field came down to only "out of the box" cars. They were all prototypes, ground up built cars that took a lot of effort.
Those teams at the end were all deserving and they all respected each other.
I am sorry you are sour. The x Prize offered a great opportunity to learn and to cross pollinate; to benefit you had to have an open mind.
Last on Spira. I never insulted Lon. On the contrary, I consider his effort truly out of the box. While perhaps limited for the USA his idea may have great potential and he may have the last laugh. No, he did not get 100 MPGe. That was not because he had a bad idea. On the contrary. His problem (and ours) was that there are no 250 cc engines on the planet tuned to meet USA emissions and tuned for efficiency. His engine (Kawasaki 250) and ours (Based on Yamaha 250) are designed to be in fun high reving, fuel consumption secondary, emissions standards easy, motorcycles.
The difference between Lon and us is that we spent months remapping our engine and building many custom catalysts and turbo charging it.
We custom built most of the internals including the entire transmission...
His engine almost got him there and he got better MPG than the motorcycle. He had a real achievement and he did not buy his car at the Toyota dealership.

cudadude says: 8:59 PM, 08.25.10

You see, Ollie, the big problem here is that you got away with it, when others were told to take a hike...including several "out of the box" teams, some of which had stellar numbers. But if you could look past the chip on your shoulder, you might indulge in a greater modicum of sensibility towards your former competitor. Since you've opened up on so many things, may as well pick on you for saying them. ; )

"The engineers at Toyota are very good."
Agreed. But the accountants are better. Toyota brought the best hybrid to the market first, but they know there isn't a viable market for electric cars. They aren't trying to win contests, either, but they mostly succeed in bringing things to the market that people will actually buy.

"Separately we are perfectly able to build a car that does not overheat, we have proven it many times on the race track."
That's great, but so what? That car wasn't entered into the x prize. Will the x prize allow you to enter that car for verification in place of the burn ups?

"In the X Prize there was not much time so we were, at that time, short of testing."
Any team could offer that excuse, but your entries were allowed to continue. The difference is... please, do tell!

"One day we will drive one of our cars cross country."
The time must first be cleared out for such a lengthy event, say, three to four weeks, at least. And that's not counting the time to drive back. Just be sure to avoid Interstate 10. Isn't the X Prize about delivering cars that are ready now? Does that matter?

BTW, I have a camera. I'll gladly follow you and Thomas on a cross country challenge. He threw down the gauntlet, yet you say HE'S the one crying? XD What you should have said was, "Okay, we'll start in DC after the ceremony." Well? What's stopping you?

"There were some well executed modifications of existing cars like the Saturn of Amp that knew they could not win but nevertheless were able to get 100 MPGe out of a heavy, normal car through a well-done motor control strategy."
See, other cars may be able to achieve 100mpge, but they don't count. They have to be built from the ground up in order to get waiver-ed into verification, then waiver-ed out of verification.

Looking at all of the comments you've posted, I've never seen a 'winner' try so hard to explain away a victory. Was it indeed so hard won? Or do the length, breadth, and depth of your comments betray a guilty conscience? Perhaps justifying some inadequacies? No matter what anybody says, something just doesn't pass the smell test here.

oliverk says: 4:55 AM, 08.26.10

The only thing I can say is this:
There was a clear mandate that all cars had to have a working Morray system when they showed up at shakedown in order to be allowed to continue.
In our session three did: :#97, #98 and the Smart EV, you did not.

We never questioned the wisdom in giving the benefit of time here because we wanted to learn.
I wanted as many different approaches (competitors) as possible and I wanted to see the data in order to gain knowledge. The X prize did everything they could to try to offer a good data stream. To me that was reasonable and enough.

We had working Morrays at a great price: We substituted our testing period for making new wiring harnesses as it became apparent that getting a Morray to work was harder than anyone thought (Incidentally it did speak Prius (the only car in the industry with this bit connection), thus not needing a CAN to CAN in a Prius, which should have given you a great advantage).

The X Prize was for planting a seed to develop technology. It was there to start industry.

One reason I am not driving across the country is that we have a lot of work. We have a great deal of investment interest and as we always declared our cars are only the beginning. Our shop is busy building the next gen car which was delayed because the specifications have been frozen during the Competition. We learned a great deal. We are busy building a company and more than spending a multiple of the prize money for the purpose of solving this problem.

The reason I spend time explaining is that I do answer questions. I am transparent and I respect the fact that some people want to know. I like to be helpful.
In the past there are people who have helped me and I know how nice it is to be on the other end of this. Kevin Doran is such a person. I remember when I was racing a Jelopy of my own design trying to make the top 20. He was racing for the win and nevertheless he spent an hour explaining. Another time he welded a part for me at a time he had no time. He is my friend now and while I will never be his equal in racing I am his equal and we talk about many things ranging from Real Estate to how to build a better wheel.

The X prize had many people of great experience.
They started at 7 am and often worked past midnight. They did a great effort to put together an event of great meaning. They achieved that.

They offered a great platform for the teams who choose to use it.

Last why would we race you across the country? Your car got less than 67 mpg. Of course a developed car that was originally delivered by Toyota can go cross country???
Every time I have driven across the country I have done it in 3 - 5 days depending on where I would stop.

You do not get it. Range is of no issue to us --- that is the point.
If we race you we would put a big vent on the side and we give up 2 MPGe and the fans never come on. 100 MPG was required in the x prize, in your race it seems to be irrelevant. The Yamaha engine does not overheat no different from your Toyota. It runs hot when we restrict the amount of cooling air, deliberately to get the best numbers possible...

You have a real opportunity, I do not know your car in detail but if you did get better than 50MPG you may be the one who has a product you could sell to other Prius buyers. Many of these people want to do the right thing and a better Prius may be of interest to them.
In that you have a captive market and you may have a medium term opportunity better than any of the rest of us.

Regards Oliver

getareellife says: 7:27 AM, 08.26.10

See responses starred:

The only thing I can say is this:
There was a clear mandate that all cars had to have a working Morray system when they showed up at shakedown in order to be allowed to continue.
In our session three did: :#97, #98 and the Smart EV, you did not.

Oliver, great points. This is why I appreciate your candor. Correct, we were told by Tech Staff it (DAS) was optional and to plan on meeting with Moray during the event to get it running. Funny thing is we never saw Moray at Shakedown. We did not see moray until Tuesday at Knockout. At which time we were informed that there was not a CANBUS to DAS module available for our Vehicle. In fact, we were told that Argonne has one but they would not let us use it. Too expensive or some sort of ridiculous answer. It was there responsibility to get there system working correctly by providing the necessary hardware/software. They did not. So, in fact none of the Prius platforms at knockout (Enginer, Global E or American HyPower) had functional DAS systems. Don't you find that concerning that we were given waivers for that on a couple of occasions? Meanwhile, like us, you busted your ass getting it installed before shakedown.

We never questioned the wisdom in giving the benefit of time here because we wanted to learn.
I wanted as many different approaches (competitors) as possible and I wanted to see the data in order to gain knowledge. The X prize did everything they could to try to offer a good data stream. To me that was reasonable and enough.

We had working Morrays at a great price: We substituted our testing period for making new wiring harnesses as it became apparent that getting a Morray to work was harder than anyone thought (Incidentally it did speak Prius (the only car in the industry with this bit connection), thus not needing a CAN to CAN in a Prius, which should have given you a great advantage).


**See above. That is a myth which our engineers disproved. Also, it was our engineers whom alerted X Prize Staff to the significant pressure variations in line between regulator and DAS fuel flow meter. This is what we were told to eliminate after we arrived at knockout.

The X Prize was for planting a seed to develop technology. It was there to start industry.

One reason I am not driving across the country is that we have a lot of work. We have a great deal of investment interest and as we always declared our cars are only the beginning. Our shop is busy building the next gen car which was delayed because the specifications have been frozen during the Competition. We learned a great deal. We are busy building a company and more than spending a multiple of the prize money for the purpose of solving this problem.

The reason I spend time explaining is that I do answer questions. I am transparent and I respect the fact that some people want to know. I like to be helpful.
In the past there are people who have helped me and I know how nice it is to be on the other end of this. Kevin Doran is such a person. I remember when I was racing a Jelopy of my own design trying to make the top 20. He was racing for the win and nevertheless he spent an hour explaining. Another time he welded a part for me at a time he had no time. He is my friend now and while I will never be his equal in racing I am his equal and we talk about many things ranging from Real Estate to how to build a better wheel.

The X prize had many people of great experience.
They started at 7 am and often worked past midnight. They did a great effort to put together an event of great meaning. They achieved that.

They offered a great platform for the teams who choose to use it.

*** I agree. I've made good acquaintances from the event. Indeed the competition provided an invaluable vehicle to bring new technology to the forefront.

Last why would we race you across the country? Your car got less than 67 mpg. Of course a developed car that was originally delivered by Toyota can go cross country???
Every time I have driven across the country I have done it in 3 - 5 days depending on where I would stop.


**** Because it would be fun and get a lot of press? Okay, seriously, because it would be fun and get a lot of press.


You do not get it. Range is of no issue to us --- that is the point.
If we race you we would put a big vent on the side and we give up 2 MPGe and the fans never come on. 100 MPG was required in the x prize, in your race it seems to be irrelevant. The Yamaha engine does not overheat no different from your Toyota. It runs hot when we restrict the amount of cooling air, deliberately to get the best numbers possible...

****Range is a point Oliver. Especially the further
West you go in the US. It may be of little interest in your chosen "market segment" but dont underestimate the expense that Ford is spending to advertise a car that goes 700 miles on one tank of gasoline.

You have a real opportunity, I do not know your car in detail but if you did get better than 50MPG you may be the one who has a product you could sell to other Prius buyers. Many of these people want to do the right thing and a better Prius may be of interest to them.
In that you have a captive market and you may have a medium term opportunity better than any of the rest of us.

**** The average that X Prize posted was 54. We have independent data of 93 on highway. The city cycle at knockout was just killer. We had low numbers. Our actual on the highway cycle was almost 70. That is only with aerodynamic modifications. We did not turn our technology on during knockout. You and I are in complete agreement on the aero mods that can be incorporated into current production and certainly future production vehicles.

getareellife says: 7:43 AM, 08.26.10

Oliver,

Another clarification. I missed one of your posts. Our car is not a plug in. We did not modify the stock battery in the Prius at all. In fact, as I told you I wanted to throw it overboard due to the weight. Our focus is true fuel efficiency, not storage efficiency. Batteries have nothing to do with true fuel efficiency. They only store what you can produce unfortunately, in most cases not very efficiently. A lot of the numbers you see coming from the EV's at this event are not true mpge #'s for a lot of reasons which I am certain you already understand.

Also, we did not take on the Toyota engineers anymore than any other team in the Competition. Are you serious? Every car there was challenging the reigning mpg king, the Prius! We just knew we could do it better. And yes, we have top notch people. And yes, we beat their posted numbers by a lot. But I can assure you they can produce a car with much higher mpg than they are currently selling - without using batteries. BMW and Mercedes are actually going down the same technology development path we are.

Also, I am not sour. I figured at some point by commenting someone would raise that comment.

oliverk says: 11:34 AM, 08.26.10

70 on the Highway is a great number and a real reason to be proud. Congratulations.
I apologize for thinking you had a pug in with a big battery.
The real truth is we all learned and we all worked really hard for a common good for our world and children.

I am of the opinion that I could bench race forever and everybody did some things less than optimal.
There were misconceptions about the difficulty of everything from putting on a show, raising the money, communicating etc. Nevertheless one thing is certain and that is that those who did show up for shakedown and beyond all had something to say and most important they put their money where their mouth is. They actually did something about this great problem. They built a car or they made a great effort putting on a fair and respectable show staffed with many experts.
Everybody learned here.

Regards to you and you are right there may be publicity to gain maybe next year in some other event....

jed12 says: 12:00 PM, 08.27.10

oliverk,
my apologies to you and Thomas. I am not Thomas and yet you answered him as if he were me. Interesting answers. I still find mechanical failure to be an issue. A competitor in the mainstream class got 119.8 MPGe and was eliminated in the Knockout. It was a mechanical problem. I don't see how third party data can be used for the entire validation. Per the latest blog post, a grade test was to occur. How can that be reconciled by you third party data. It is good that you were able to salvage the data from coastdown. Your blog on that was the best blog entry yet posted by Edison 2.
If the 90 MPGe was always there, why was it revealed at finals? To the casual observer, the average would have to be greater or equal to 100MPGe. So, 100 MPGe + 101 MPGe would have to be 100.5 MPGe, which qualifies, but so would 67 MPGe and 133 MPGe. Maybe that problem was created by someone else. There have been so many changes in the competition you would think Congress has been involved. The lab can be very hard and I would think that it would be better to be at least 100 MPGe on the road to insure the win. That was implied on the X-Prize site.
Having the best on your team does not insure the best result. History is full of that scenario. I do not doubt the qualifications of the engineers and designers, but the execution and the use of E 85 with a motorcyle engine baffle me. Why did you not use Gasoline?
The drivers at Chelsea? Did you,Mr. Jaeger or Mr. Mathis talk to them about how to run the engine? Was the "Launch Control" program still in effect? Seems like 5 Million is a good reason to instruct these guys.

oliverk says: 3:46 PM, 08.27.10

We instructed them and they drove fine the first day but it got windy. The tests take time and coastdowns are not done in wind.
The second day they were on their own.
The launch control had nothing to do with it as it turns itself off at anything more than zero miles per hour (as we were not able to change the parameters to the 14 mph we normally run). It is only a factor if you push the separate button on the steering wheel and then floor the gas and build boost that did not happen (besides they did not know about that feature).
They just plain up-shifted as they are used to and in this case it was the opposite of the desired result just like the guy in the Acura you tube video above who blew his engine with the same type of mechanical over-rev.
The reasons we choose E 85 are two:
1; It was reasonable to assume that we could more readyly meet the emissions with this strategy as the actual hurdle is a bit lower for E85.
2; We ran the engines at a higher than gasoline friendly compression to optimize the benefit of compression against the deduction of added friction from ring drag. E85 in the MPGe calculation includes more liquid and thus gives more charge cooling. (ironically the real benefit of all this comes in after you go over 10000 miles as you are always on the lookout to reduce predetonation and the higher octane and more liquid is your friend here.

The fact is by the time we were done this was not a Yamaha engine but rather a Yamaha based engine. We did make choices which were based on best guesses and they did result in very good numbers. The real problem is that the rescaled car which is what we are promoting and eventually selling does not care what the engine is. It only cares that the engine is seized correctly.
Correctly seized parts do not exist as this is a new approach, hence the Yamaha engine was the best interim compromise. It proved the point and a rescaled engine can easily be done. It is a known science.

Now enough said. We ran the tests in an EPA certified lab and that is what validation was about. We gave the numbers to X prize and their experts have them for review. The beauty of standards is that they become repeatable.
It is irrelevant if you did the test in Chicago or in Michigan as long as you did it following agreed upon protocol by certified method.
We did this.

People have schedules and people have other things to do. After what happened the cars could not be in Argonne on the scheduled day (that is a busy place with schedules as is our and XPs time)
Further it would have been a waste of time as the repeatable result would have been the same.

We had two cars both of which would have been over 100 just one more than the other as it is the average.

The hill-climb would have been a non issue for our car as it is so light and only needs 14 hp to do it.

We are now building the next generation car which we were not able to do during competition because specifications were frozen. We are moving on and we made our point. Whoever you are - get over it.

X prize did not get it perfect but they tried and they put on something quite special and did so trying to keep everybody happy. They did it to point toward a solution and they pointed to several. If you do not like what you see I can not help you. I believe that the only answer is to rethink the car, the data is clear on this.
The X Prize validated this point.

Now the question becomes if people actually really want to use less energy and make less pollution. Options were shown, answers were given, You can lead a horse to the water but you can not make it drink.

I lost you on your 100 mpg finals number argument, but let me tell you that the one car 98 which got 100.4 MPGe on the track also got between 110 and 117 in the lab. In the lab the car did not have to deal with the traffic of the then confused / wounded TW4XP and did not have to drive in a high wind situation. The reason X prize created validation was to validate. That means check and make sure the track data is good. They did it to make sure that no real world issue puts on undue burden.

We realize that most other teams would not have had lab results in quantity. But then again that is what we did have and we did have it because we were prepared and because we built multiple cars because we recognized early that you need to have the hardware to be able to do testing, building and development. In essence we were well prepared. There is a racing saying that applies here:
"You win the race in the shop and you loose it on the track".

We competed fair and square, we engineered a solution with a message and a path forward.
We always looked out for the well-being of all, and we were very open with what we did and why.
We did not seek an unfair advantage. When people realized that an ice chest might help we showed them. When people needed parts for the Morray we helped them.
This is about doing something good for our grandchildren.

X Prize will decide - it is their competition.
tuning out - work to do
Regards

oliverk says: 3:46 PM, 08.27.10

We instructed them and they drove fine the first day but it got windy. The tests take time and coastdowns are not done in wind.
The second day they were on their own.
The launch control had nothing to do with it as it turns itself off at anything more than zero miles per hour (as we were not able to change the parameters to the 14 mph we normally run). It is only a factor if you push the separate button on the steering wheel and then floor the gas and build boost that did not happen (besides they did not know about that feature).
They just plain up-shifted as they are used to and in this case it was the opposite of the desired result just like the guy in the Acura you tube video above who blew his engine with the same type of mechanical over-rev.
The reasons we choose E 85 are two:
1; It was reasonable to assume that we could more readyly meet the emissions with this strategy as the actual hurdle is a bit lower for E85.
2; We ran the engines at a higher than gasoline friendly compression to optimize the benefit of compression against the deduction of added friction from ring drag. E85 in the MPGe calculation includes more liquid and thus gives more charge cooling. (ironically the real benefit of all this comes in after you go over 10000 miles as you are always on the lookout to reduce predetonation and the higher octane and more liquid is your friend here.

The fact is by the time we were done this was not a Yamaha engine but rather a Yamaha based engine. We did make choices which were based on best guesses and they did result in very good numbers. The real problem is that the rescaled car which is what we are promoting and eventually selling does not care what the engine is. It only cares that the engine is seized correctly.
Correctly seized parts do not exist as this is a new approach, hence the Yamaha engine was the best interim compromise. It proved the point and a rescaled engine can easily be done. It is a known science.

Now enough said. We ran the tests in an EPA certified lab and that is what validation was about. We gave the numbers to X prize and their experts have them for review. The beauty of standards is that they become repeatable.
It is irrelevant if you did the test in Chicago or in Michigan as long as you did it following agreed upon protocol by certified method.
We did this.

People have schedules and people have other things to do. After what happened the cars could not be in Argonne on the scheduled day (that is a busy place with schedules as is our and XPs time)
Further it would have been a waste of time as the repeatable result would have been the same.

We had two cars both of which would have been over 100 just one more than the other as it is the average.

The hill-climb would have been a non issue for our car as it is so light and only needs 14 hp to do it.

We are now building the next generation car which we were not able to do during competition because specifications were frozen. We are moving on and we made our point. Whoever you are - get over it.

X prize did not get it perfect but they tried and they put on something quite special and did so trying to keep everybody happy. They did it to point toward a solution and they pointed to several. If you do not like what you see I can not help you. I believe that the only answer is to rethink the car, the data is clear on this.
The X Prize validated this point.

Now the question becomes if people actually really want to use less energy and make less pollution. Options were shown, answers were given, You can lead a horse to the water but you can not make it drink.

I lost you on your 100 mpg finals number argument, but let me tell you that the one car 98 which got 100.4 MPGe on the track also got between 110 and 117 in the lab. In the lab the car did not have to deal with the traffic of the then confused / wounded TW4XP and did not have to drive in a high wind situation. The reason X prize created validation was to validate. That means check and make sure the track data is good. They did it to make sure that no real world issue puts on undue burden.

We realize that most other teams would not have had lab results in quantity. But then again that is what we did have and we did have it because we were prepared and because we built multiple cars because we recognized early that you need to have the hardware to be able to do testing, building and development. In essence we were well prepared. There is a racing saying that applies here:
"You win the race in the shop and you loose it on the track".

We competed fair and square, we engineered a solution with a message and a path forward.
We always looked out for the well-being of all, and we were very open with what we did and why.
We did not seek an unfair advantage. When people realized that an ice chest might help we showed them. When people needed parts for the Morray we helped them.
This is about doing something good for our grandchildren.

X Prize will decide - it is their competition.
tuning out - work to do
Regards

jed12 says: 9:18 PM, 08.28.10

oliverk,
Do I understand correctly, the tests at Rousch were the same as the tests to be conducted at Argonne? All exactly as per the X-Prize criteria? My first question is were the vehicle configurations the same? No changes since. It seems presumptive to say that the results would have been repeatable and it would have been a waste of time. Your quote below.

"We ran the tests in an EPA certified lab and that is what validation was about. We gave the numbers to X prize and their experts have them for review. The beauty of standards is that they become repeatable.
It is irrelevant if you did the test in Chicago or in Michigan as long as you did it following agreed upon protocol by certified method.
We did this.

People have schedules and people have other things to do. After what happened the cars could not be in Argonne on the scheduled day (that is a busy place with schedules as is our and XPs time)
Further it would have been a waste of time as the repeatable result would have been the same.

We had two cars both of which would have been over 100 just one more than the other as it is the average.

The hill-climb would have been a non issue for our car as it is so light and only needs 14 hp to do it."

Does this mean the X-Prize standards are not important? What other requirements should be removed?

The E 85 fuel issue still bugs me. It has not caught on here in America. It is more widespead in Brazil. Would you market the VLC in Brazil? E 85 use in the US may be hampered by the problems with cold start and vapor lock problems. Plus it is not good on cylinder wall lubrication. If you had to retool for gasoline, what kind of results would you expect in current configuration?

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