Posts Tagged ‘mis’
We have hours of footage from the X PRIZE, but this is one of my personal favorites I’ve been saving for a cold winter day. This is the Skidpad test on which Consumer Reports tests all new cars.
According to Wikipedia, a skidpad or skidpan is a large, circular area of flat pavement used for various tests of a car’s handling. The most common skidpad use is testing lateral acceleration, measured in g.
The test is carried out on a circular track with a calculated radius. A car driving on said track is slowly accelerated until the outermost tires on the car begin to slip. Going any faster would cause the car to drive outside the 300 ft radius. At this point, the speed of the car is recorded, and given the centripetal acceleration formula, v²/r, a car’s handling in terms of lateral gs can be derived.
To pass the test, the Alias had to surpass 40 MPH to achieve a lateral acceleration of .7 g without losing control. As you can see, this was a piece of cake for the Alias and X PRIZE posted a result of .85 g, not bad considering Al Unser Jr. was just getting started when they called him in. None of the X PRIZE cars in the Knockout Stage had a problem with this test and it was dropped for the finals.
Thankz to ZAP Alias Team Member Prashanth Radhakrishnan for capturing this raw video, which was posted originally on Facebook in June.
The Zap Alias won the on-line poll for the most attractive car, but this car is far more than just a pretty face. An efficient and quick three-wheeled side-by-side, this electric vehicle carries a 32 kWh advanced lithium-ion phosphate battery made by one of the largest BEV manufacturers in the US, yet it still weighed in at a modest 2733 pounds. This car showed innovation in both its design and execution, yielding excellent performance and efficiency.
Class: Alternative Side by Side
No. of wheels: Three
Drive type: Battery electric, front-wheel-drive
Battery type: 32 kwh, lithium-ion
Charging: 110v or 220v
Thankz for the great video, XPRIZE! Watch more videos at the XPRIZE Foundation YouTube Channel.
The ZAP Alias, the most production-looking and production-ready electric car competing in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, has survived in a competitive, international field of 115 teams and 136 vehicles down to the final six electric vehicles remaining in the competition. Now it moves onto dynamometer testing at Argonne National Labs with the remaining 9 vehicles to validate the final efficiency numbers and declare a winner.
The ZAP Alias is in the most competitive class of the X PRIZE, the Alternative Side-by-Side category with two-seats in a side-by-side configuration. Other classes are Tandem seating for two and Mainstream for four. From the $10 Million purse contributed by Progressive Insurance, the two Alternative Classes are competing for $2.5 million each with the Mainstream Class for $5 million. Monotracer and Edison2, each with two vehicles, are the last teams in their classes, while the 5-team Alternative Side-by-Side Class is a dogfight to the finish.
One of the most dramatic moments of the X PRIZE was a 100 MPGe “race” that Edison2 team leader Oliver Kuttner dubbed “The Race of the Century.” A time trial with five futuristic cars was held at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 as a tie-breaker in case more than one finished over 100+ MPG or energy equivalent. Competitors included our own ZAP Alias, the well-known Aptera 2e, the quirky, slippery Wave II from North Carolina, the powerful, expensive RaceAbout from Finland, and the tiny, minimalist TW4XP from Germany.
ZAP’s car was driven by Chuck Turney, our master automotive builder who led the ZAP Alias build team from the beginning. Turney stepped in to drive without skipping a beat when team driver and Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. left to officiate an Indy Racing League event, a prior business obligation for which he regretted having to leave. An automotive genius who was integral to the success of the Alias, Chuck was cool and smooth in the driver’s seat as the Alias sailed effortlessly through efficiency, range and dynamic safety testing, passing each of the Consumer Reports safety tests on his very first attempt. Chuck was clearly one of the smoothest drivers in the emergency lane change and acceleration test and appeared to post the best 60 to 0 MPH braking test. Turney’s talent is the pride of ZAP’s engineering and we are all in his debt.
The 100-mile, 50-lap “race” was non-elimination and included a challenging serpentine chicane on the backstretch to simulate real-world driving. The best time while achieving the 100 MPG or equivalent efficiency that passed validation in laboratory testing would be declared the winner. Teams were required to keep their speeds at 70 MPH or below and 45 MPH or above throughout the course, except through the chicane where cars passed through at speeds of 30-35 MPH and had to accelerate up to 45 MPH within five seconds after exiting. The circuitous chicane extended the distance of the course and taxed the cars far more than expected.
The powerful Finnish team RaceAbout had a high degree of confidence going into the event with its expensive, 400-horsepower EV and was the odds-on favorite by some to win the competition with 12 team members calculating every move of their vehicle. The Alias, with super smooth Chuck at the wheel, pushed the pace and may have caused the Finns to exceed the 70 MPH speed limit twice during the event, earning penalties which ultimately cost them victory. The second favorite Aptera with its multi-million dollar 3-wheeler, a sophisticated, lightweight and aerodynamic design that began engineering in 2007, ran into technical problems on the first lap due to what appeared to be overcharging and regenerative braking issues, and completed just 18 laps before stopping. The aerodynamic, odd-shaped Wave II was 800 pounds lighter, and had sophisticated wind tunnel testing, which meant that the Alias was less efficient and needed to have luck, skill and strategy to win this race. The lightweight, minimalist TW4XP 3-wheeler ran conservatively to save energy, while in this all or nothing tie breaker event, the ZAP team went all out for the win. All of the other four teams received max and minimum speed penalties while the Alias with super-smooth Chuck behind the wheel roared on for 47 laps without any penalties at all.
Several days before the race and up late each night, Gary and Prash calculated and recalculated speeds and times. We knew we would need skill, luck and ultra performance from the Alias. We were not the most powerful, nor the lightest, nor the most aerodynamic, so the laws of physics and simple math were not on our side. Carlo watched the action from his computer in Colorado, Sam had the lap times, while Dave and Alex counted down the laps. The only radio contact with Chuck was race-side through Ben. Early on the team mathematically surmised that the RaceAbout had over-sped the course. Indeed, following the race we learned they were penalized twice for going over 70 MPH.
The laps continued to tick down.
For much of the race the Alias was locked with the Wave II trading leads and then taking the lead towards the end. Up until that point, the Alias was spectacular throughout the X PRIZE, making it to the final stage against all odds. Confidence was high, but again, math was not on our side.
As others have pointed out, it is a reality that the hyper-efficient, lightweight Wave II from Li-Ion Motors most likely would not have been in the finals without ZAP’s engineers lending them a hand and parts during the Shakedown. Some have said that it was wrong and a crazy thing to do. In this dog-eat-dog world it has often been pointed out by Progressive Insurance and the X PRIZE that sportsmanship rose high during the competition. At the X PRIZE leadership seminar it was pointed out that only through cooperation would these cars of the future really have a chance of competing against the current multi billion-dollar industry that represents the status quo. The reality was that ZAP had the part that another team desperately needed, and a decision was made to give it to them. Later, the Li-Ion Team helped another team that was struggling.
Who knows how things would be different if that decision had not been made? But who knows where our auto industry would have been if they truly met the goals of the original the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles program which was suppose to cooperatively share technology and produce high mileage cars years ago? Or what happened to real cooperation on fuel cell technology? Would the Japanese have crushed us with hybrid technology that was originally invented in the USA? Would billion dollar government-sponsored programs like the fuel cell initiative, the Freedom Car program, and the electric car mandate of the 1990’s have died? Would the foreign car companies have out-produced and out-sold US companies? Would we have had to give them tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to bail them out? Who knows what the final outcome will be here, or who will recognize what really happened… But those who participated in this contest and those who were in the thick of it all know, what the ZAP team is made of, what they accomplished and what they did.
As the Alias went for the win, ZAP could also not have anticipated that the challenging course would consume more energy than earlier calculated, and by keeping up with Wave II, that was more aerodynamic and 800 pounds lighter, apparently all it took was one of the Alias’ 110 lithium battery cells going so slightly out of balance on the 48th lap, our automatic safety systems went into effect, and the Alias started losing power when the controller reacted and the overworked battery pack sent a low-voltage signal for cutoff. The vehicle slowed and came to a stop just 2 laps short of its goal. In a gallant effort the team tried to re-boot and reprogram the system and unlock a small reserve of power, but time eroded and ran out.
Ironically our driver was so smooth with no penalties and the ZAP Alias performed so well, the math says we most likely would have won by going slower and conserving energy, and not racing the Wave II for the lead, but we couldn’t have known for sure at the time without a crystal ball, more engineering time, or simply a few more personnel on-site. The two most committed, serious teams RaceAbout and Aptera had many more engineers present throughout the competition. ZAP spent perhaps the least amount of capital of all the finalists, and was simultaneously engineering and constructing a vehicle for the USPS as well as a new lithium powered electric truck and an electric taxi for a venture in China, all at the exact same time as the X PRIZE events. Throughout ZAP’s Alias development, management at ZAP had a difficult time supporting a three-wheeled car. And progress happened through the will and persistence of a dedicated few.
After crunching the numbers, the technicians concluded that the Wave II, which had only one low-speed violation, was named the winner of the potential tiebreaker over RaceAbout with two over-speed penalties. Wave II was declared the winner by an incredible 0.129 second margin! Both teams and all the rest should be congratulated for such an exciting finish and for their perseverance in this “Race of the Century.” Now the Alias remains in the competition with a wild card chance among the 7 teams remaining going onto the validation phase at Argonne National Labs. The ultimate winners will be named in Washington D.C. on September 16.
ZAP is extremely proud of how the team pulled together with the support of our suppliers, (especially Carlo!) sponsors, employees, investors, family and friends. We need to thank the ZAP Alias Team for the X PRIZE: Al, Chuck, Prash, Dave, Gary, Joe, Aubre, Frederic, Ben, Brandon, Alex and others, including our fellow employees, volunteers including daughters, sons, brothers, and wives, many who have worked crazy 16-hour days in 95 degree temperatures for 7 days a week, some nights ’til 2 in the morning, some waking up at 4 am. We need to thank those who used their own finances and their own credit cards to float the expenses of this competition. Even the willingness of the team to share an old house without air conditioning instead of a hotel to save on cost. The Alias earned respect and admiration from competitors and officials alike, including the third-party recognition of the X PRIZE, Consumer Reports, and the Department of Energy. Our stylish, innovative, and practical three-wheeler outperformed many of the best three- and four-wheeled cars in the world, so we are extremely delighted with its performance. The Alias is now among an elite group of seven teams to survive the grueling three-year competition. Thank you to everyone for your support, including all our fans on Facebook and Twitter. And a special thanks to Al Unser Jr. and family for their support, helping to bring much more attention to the competition and providing a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team.
All the teams involved in the competition deserve a huge amount of credit for having the audacity to believe in and achieve 100+ MPGe automobiles. One of the X PRIZE officials pointed out that the upcoming Nissan Leaf would not have been able to complete tests like this. Thanks to the event organizers and sponsors for executing the difficult challenge and mission of a 100 MPGe vehicle competition, including Dr. Peter Diamandis, Julie Zona, Bethann Budenbaum and countless others. The Tech Team, led by Steve Wesoloski, ran a tough but fair competition. Congratulations to all and good luck in the future.
ZAP joined the X PRIZE in the middle of its preparations for finalizing the design of the production Alias. While the competition outlined criteria for production-ready cars over the next few years, ZAP’s goal is to go into production soon after the competition is over, which at this point we are projecting to be by 2011. For these reasons, it seems that the Alias matched the spirit of the competition more than it did the minimal rules that helped the other four cars. The Alias is heavier because it was designed with more safety equipment than the other cars, including a NASCAR-style chassis and safety cage. The competition vehicle uses double reinforced door panels to meet side impact standards. Some of the vehicles only had one seat or extremely hard, lightweight seats while the ZAP Alias used standard, low-cost, off-the-shelf, well-padded and comfortable automotive seats. The Alias also had off-the-shelf wheels, steering, braking, real automotive front and rear glass, defrosters and standard size tires and wheels. It was the combined solid engineering, experience and vision of the ZAP team members that allowed this low budgeted race vehicle to compete with the best.
Due to the “I want one” look, the Alias is less aerodynamic and never had the sophisticated and expensive wind tunnel testing of the other cars designed solely for the competition. Instead it used an aggressive, futuristic styling that would be attractive to consumers yet still surpasses the aerodynamics of most conventional cars. The ZAP Alias was designed to win in the marketplace, not necessarily just win the X PRIZE like the majority of all other vehicles.
It was believed that our goals of a production-ready, low-cost vehicle with good technology was a match for the X PRIZE rules, and so with little support, a 2-person, part-time team of Gary and Frederic filled out the original paperwork to enter and pass the early technical reviews. The Alias was created out of air, even when we were told that three wheel cars didn’t make sense and didn’t have a market. Two different senior management groups would not financially back the project. Even without any prior third-party analysis, or the funding or dedicated single focus of most of the other teams, the Alias still achieved an impressive 121.8 MPGe efficiency from the on-track testing, and had the least problems with the performance safety requirements. It also appears that it was the least expensively built race vehicle by several multiples, all keeping with the goal of a true production-ready car to ultimately prove through sales that it could be built affordably even in modest volumes, at the currently projected retail price of $35,000.
For these reasons we would argue that the Alias is the best all-around car competing in the X PRIZE, which has been affirmed time and time again by third-parties, and by you, our fans. Thank you for voting the Alias as the ‘Most Stylish’ car on the X PRIZE website, which is now up for ‘Most Practical’ through August 16. Vote today at http://progressiveautoxprize.org. Don’t forget, you can also reserve a ZAP Alias today on ZAP’s website, http://www.zapworld.com. And look to see the ZAP Alias in Washington D.C. next month!
It remains to be seen whether history will look back on the X PRIZE’s 100 MPGe “Race of the Century” and remember it in the same terms of the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Charles Lindberg or Thomas Edison. One thing is for sure, for those who were there and watching on U Stream that day, 100 MPGe cars put on an unforgettable show and won over more believers. Perhaps it will represent, not a finale, but a new beginning, knowing that the technology for 100 MPGe cars is possible. Perhaps this is the beginning of the real race – getting these 100 MPGe vehicles into production. ZAP is now proposing the formation of a new alliance, an alliance of these fuel exciting teams and vehicles to assist each other in creating these quantum leap vehicles. Join us.
The vaunted Consumer’s Union/Consumer Reports “Moose Test,” Double Lane Change, accident avoidance maneuver gave X PRIZE teams nightmares during Shakedown, though no team has actually been knocked out because of it. During the Knockout Stage teams showed they quickly got a handle on serpentine cone course, tuning their tires and suspension and getting the driving down almost like it was a dance move. That’s not to say there weren’t a few cones knocked over, but it turned out to be a banner day for all involved. We should do this more often? Anyone want to meet at the Walmart parking lot early in the morning? I’ll bring the cones.
During Knockout the ZAP Alias ran in a heat with Aptera Motors, Wave2 from Li-Ion Motors, Viking 45 from Western Washington University, RaceAbout from Finland, and the Tango from Commuter Cars.
The dancing cars are set to the classical music of Johann Strauss II – An der schönen, blauen Donau Op. 314 (The Blue Danube Waltz).
Enjoy the ballet. Good luck to all X PRIZE Teams in the Finals! ~ ZAP Alias
The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is winning more fans as it moves on. We were surprised and delighted to meet Al Unser Jr.’s son, Al Unser III, a rising star in auto racing in his own right. He is finished up with school and is pursuing sponsors so that he too can compete in Indy racing. Thank you to Al Unser Jr., Al3 and the rest of the Unser family for supporting ZAP. Al, your driving definitely helped, but even more you have inspired and re-energized ZAP to meet the competition in the rapidly growing electric car industry and we look forward to working with you in the future. Great driving and thank you so much for what you have given back to the sport.
Thankz, Al! – from Everyone at ZAP
Little Al loving a green-car competition
By John Marshall, AP Sports WriterAl Unser Jr. has lived a pedal-to-the-floor life, toddling around the pits as his famous father raced around the track, winning his sport’s biggest prize twice himself, becoming a teacher to the next generation of open-wheel stars.
So when he was asked to gear back during the Automotive X-Prize, a competition that’s supposed to be more innovation than acceleration, well, you know what happened.
“I just wanted to see what it could do,” Unser said.
Curiosity is what got Unser behind the wheel in the first place, pairing a man used to high-decibel, low-miles-per-gallon speed machines with a Star-Wars-pod-looking prototype electric car not much louder than a dishwasher.
Turned out to be a perfect match.
It started two years ago, when a friend told Unser about the Zap Alias, a prototype electric car that could hit freeway speeds and had a range of 100 miles.
The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner was intrigued by a drawing of the car and contacted Zap, forming a relationship between one of the fastest drivers in the world and a company at the forefront of alternative-fuel transportation.
So when Zap needed someone to drive the Alias in the Automotive X-Prize, a $10 million competition to develop super fuel-efficient cars, Unser didn’t hesitate.
“I told them I’d love to be a part of it,” he said.
There is a certain irony to Unser’s pairing with an alternative-fuel vehicle.
Al Unser Jr. does a warm-up in the parking lot of Michigan International Speedway at the PIAXP Shakedown. This is the first time he drives the ZAP Alias.
Team ZAP Alias has a Talented, Diverse, and International Cast of Characters
Spirits are high in Santa Rosa, California where the ZAP Alias team read the announcement that it has been cleared for the knockout stage in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE (PIAXP) starting June 20th at Michigan International Speedway. Maybe that’s because this is more than just a competitive team in a 100+ MPGe vehicle contest, but the design and engineering department for a company on a 15-year mission to bring more electric transportation to the people.
Of course it always helps when one of your biggest ZAP Alias fans is none other than Indy 500 racing legend Al Unser Jr. Many of the team members are still star-struck that Al is driving for Team ZAP even though they have gotten to know the man on a first-name-basis, having eaten meals with, worked with and enjoyed great success with at the recent Shakedown Stage of the PIAXP. Naturally many observers are saying that it was Al Unser Jr.’s driving that helped ZAP through the Shakedown, but Al keeps saying, “I’m only as good as the car I’m driving.”
And much of the work on the X PRIZE entry of the ZAP Alias over the past three years has been something the ZAP Team has done between other projects that are just as important and competitive as the X PRIZE. Imagine working on building a 100 MPGe car, while also engineering a Postal Vehicle for the United States Postal Service, electric fleet trucks for the US Military and universities, vans for companies like Genetech, an electric SUV taxi for the China fleet market, an electric utility ATV, AND a variety of lithium battery packs for upgrading its line of electric vehicles. And, these are just the projects that aren’t top secret.
This team has a diverse makeup of veteran automotive engineers, seasoned automotive technicians, youthful, enthusiastic talent, electric vehicle pioneers and master automotive craftsmen. Team leader Gary Starr has been working on electric vehicles for more than 35 years, having built his first electric car in college. Together with Chuck Turney, a master automotive designer and builder with 35 years experience working for the Detroit Auto Industry, Starr and Turney have an ideal blend of leadership for a team building electric cars of the future.
With several young engineers and technicians, the ZAP Team has proven to be a dynamic combination of talent and ingenuity. Some of the team graduated from universities in mechanical and electrical engineering and design, including Joseph Rajakaruna, Frederic Marangone, and Prashanth Radhakrishnan.
The team also has loads of automotive experience. We mentioned Chuck Turney’s auto experience, with companies like GM, Magna and other automotive suppliers in nearly every phase of automotive design and production. Joseph Rajakaruna has experience with Honda through a University partnership as well as working with Ford supplier Visteon Automotive. Frederic Marangone spent some time with Peugeot and Opel. Automotive technician Aubre Decker brings 16 years of hands-on automotive technical experience. Machinist Ben Conrad who had experience working on drag racers, started as a welder with ZAP and now does the primary machine and fabrication.
It doesn’t stop there with the diverse experience. The youngest team member, Prashanth Radhakrishnan, has spent time working on the Google Lunar X PRIZE involved in, literally, rocket science. And to prove that it takes all kinds of experiences to build cars, one team member, Brandon Kincaid, has prior experience working on roller coaster cars at Sandusky Ohio’s Cedar Point Amusement park, not to mention being involved in every Alias build to date. Throw in with that Starr’s experience in the design and creation of thousands of electric cars, trucks, conversions, bicycles, scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, and ATVs, and you have an automotive design and engineering team that relishes the challenge of 100+ MPGe cars.
The team also has a distinct international flavor. Joseph Rajakaruna was born in Sri Lanka, Frederic Marangone in France, and Prasanth Radhakrishnan in India. Gary Starr is a native to the Bay Area of California; Charles Turney and Brandon Kincaid come from Toledo, Ohio; and Dave Aultman from Michigan bring more than 30 years experience in the auto industry. And a big thanks to Mike and Dave from Speedway Tire & Auto of Toledo. Oh yeah, and thanks to Alex Campbell for his crazy 19 years of trying to educate the world about how electric cars can become a commercial reality.
We are proud of the talent gathered at ZAP, but let us not forget all the others who have made this possible, every customer, stakeholder, employee, partner, contractor, supplier, dealer, as well as their friends and family members, for their commitment to transportation alternatives. In particular, thanks to ZAP CEO Steve Schneider and Chairwoman Priscilla Lu for all their support, which has been so very important to the Alias.
Thank you to the other teams. It was an exciting atmosphere in the team garage during Shakedown when teams found a spirit of collaboration. The challenge of 100+ MPGe is bigger than us all, and we found this particularly with our garage neighbor Team Wikispeed. Though in the end their beautiful dream of a 100+ MPGe race car wasn’t ready for the Shakedown, their teamwork and determination earned the respect and admiration of everyone in the garage as well as a standing ovation. We helped where we could, but when we needed help they also found the time to reach out to us. Such was the positive energy in that garage. It was truly an awesome, inspiring and rewarding experience. This is the energy we need to harness.
And a big thank you in advance to the most important member of the ZAP Team: You. It is you reading this now whom we want to reach out to and who ultimately has the power make the Alias a reality by showing your support and commitment to the project. In the end, true success will be gauged by the satisfaction of our customers, and we invite you join the ZAP Team. Join our email list, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, keep commenting and sending in your feedback, and letting us know what you ‘Like’ and finally, reserve your ZAP Alias today – nothing can help the team more, and by doing so you can help ensure the bright future of electric transportation. Thank you.