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British EV prototype competes for $10m prize

Mon, 08 Mar 2010

A Silverstone-based company has emerged as the only British (and European) contender for the $10m Automotive X-Prize, a competition to find the most environmentally friendly car on the planet.

Delta Motorsport’s E-4 Coupe concept has been accepted into the next stage of the X-Prize competition and the company now has to prepare a fully functioning prototype.

Backed by an American insurance company, the X-Prize was set up to 'inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change'. And in case that mantra isn’t enough to convince companies to enter, there’s a $10m prize fund on offer too.

The X-Prize requires entrants to build vehicles that are capable of 200 miles between charges and must be ready to be mass-produced. None of the new generation of energy-efficient cars from major car manufacturers – such as the Ford Escape, Renault ZE or Nissan Leaf – are claimed to meet the criteria.

Delta Motorsport’s proposals have been given the go-ahead by the competition organisers. With the help of a £235k grant from the East Midlands Development Agency, it now has to build a prototype that will be put through safety inspections and dynamics tests (along with 27 other vehicles) in Michigan at the end of April. If the E-4 Coupe passes those tests, there will be more evaluation rounds throughout the summer before a winner is announced in September 2010.

By Sam Burnett