E-Tracer tracing the future

Photo from Creative Commons

The X-Prize foundation has been around since 2004, and until recent years it has been purely focused on aerospace research. In 2006, the X-Prize foundation spread out to include not only aerospace innovation, but innovation for cars. This year’s competition was held early in September and saw the most competitors to date in the various vehicle classes for automobiles.

One of this year’s winners was the E-Tracer, a motorcycle-like vehicle looking very similar to the “Tron” light cycles. The one major difference between it and its movie double is that the E-Tracer has more space. The E-Tracer runs purely on battery power. Per each charge the E-Tracer gets more than a 100 miles, putting it well and beyond what is currently on the market. The E-Tracer is truly innovative in the features that it provides its owners. Since the bike is enclosed, it comes with self stabilizing wheels that drop down when the bike comes to a stop, preventing it from tipping over at lights. The body of the E-Tracer is made of Kevlar, allowing for the E-Tracer to not only have a lighter body, but one stronger than most standard vehicles, ensuring the safety of its occupants.

The E-Tracer is one of the few vehicles in the competition that is already street legal and ready to go. Part of why the E-Tracer is so close to ready production is the AC drive system built into the machine. It is from a third party company who develops AC drive systems for electric cars, giving them a decent advantage over smaller innovators who don’t have the capital to experiment and create ready-to-produce battery powered vehicles.

This is just an example of one of the many new electric driven or high efficiency gas vehicles that were revealed at the Progressive insurance sponsored event. The E-Tracer was one of the top winners, raking in $2.5 million coming in third to car #98 from Edison2 and the other side-by-side vehicle Li-ion. The E-Tracer is getting most of the attention, even if it was only third in the overall competition. The reason for all the attention of the E-Tracer is it is one of the few vehicles that could piratically be mass produced in the next couple of years. It also was one of the few vehicles that truly pushed the spirit of innovation.

The Progressive Insurance sponsored event is truly innovative. It encourages not only companies and corporations to take the risk to produce cars and vehicles to improve the future, but it also provides media coverage for companies even if they don’t win. The media coverage is a definite boon for small companies allowing them to get attention that they deserve and perhaps some of that attention would in turn become funding.