Automotive X-Prize Profile: West Philly Hybrid X

Over the recent months I've been profiling official contenders in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize, providing links so interested readers can explore them further. I encourage you to post your opinions of each contender, their technologies, and how you think they’ll do in this extraordinary competition.

This entry looks at West Philly Hybrid X out of Pennsylvania, a team entering one vehicle in each competitive class.

West Philly Hybrid X

Mainstream vehicle name: EVXb
Fuel(s): Electric / Biobutanol
In the Mainstream class “specifications [are] derived from typical existing small, 5-passenger economy mixed-use vehicles.”

Alternative vehicle name: EVXd
Fuel(s): Electric / Biodiesel
The Alternative class is “An outlet for innovation, with fewer performance & design Restrictions.”

Although the team hasn't presented photos of either vehicle yet, here's an example of what they're capable of, the 2006 'Hybrid Attack':

Attack hybrid
Photo copyright: John Helwig

Key Technologies

West Philly's EVXb is a four-door sedan based on a Ford Focus chassis. It’s a parallel plug-in hybrid with a 2-cylinder 80 hp Harley-Davidson flex-fuel engine (can burn gasoline and biobutanol) and a 60 hp Azure Dynamics electric motor which drives the front wheels and gets its juice from a 10 kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery pack.

The team's EVXd is a 2-seat biodieselhybrid sports car that uses a Factory Five GTM frame, a VW TDI 1.9 L engine, and an Azure Dynamics electric motor for the rear wheels with a 10 kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery pack. When driven under 50 mph, the EVXd relies chiefly on the electric motor.

Team Overview

West Philly Hybrid X is composed of 13 current students, 2 recent graduates, and 4 teachers from West Philadelphia High School, a public high school in a tough but extraordinarily proud and historic Philadelphia neighborhood. Established in 1998, the team has been nothing short of a smash success at the annual Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) Tour de Sol. In 2002 they entered two vehicles, the Soljourner 1 and Soljourner 2, winning numerous awards; in 2005 the team's Hybrid Attack, a 300 hp, 50 mpg electric-biodiesel hybrid sports car, took home a handful of awards; success that spared the school's EV program, although it's a wonder why this dynamite program ever should have been threatened in the first place. They were Tour de Sol champions once again in 2006.

In 2007, when the NESEA put the Tour de Sol on hold, the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club (EEVC) stepped up to host the 21st Century Automotive Challenge. West Philly won that too.

Because of this success, Popular Mechanics gave the team early props in May of 2008 as a contender for the X-Prize, and when they checked back in March 2009, none of that early enthusiasm had waned.

Team Leader

Simon Hauger. Hauger is a physics and mathematics teacher at West Philadelphia High School’s Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering (AAME), which is where the team is based. In 1998 Hauger launched the school's wildly successful Electric Vehicle Program, which has spawned the Tour de Sol championship teams as well as the current X-Prize team.

Financial backing

West Philly Hybrid X enjoys sponsorship from dozens of organizations, ranging from the City of Philadelphia to Drexel University to Harley Davidson. If you're interested in contributing to their efforts to compete in the X-prize, click on their sponsorship page.

External links

Previous Automotive X-Prize Profiles

Team Adiabatic
AMP
Aptera
Avion Car Company
BDCOTSRUS
Enertia Motors
FVT Racing
Gaia Transport
Lightning Hybrids
OptaMotive
Physics Lab of Lake Havasu
Red Light Racing
Velozzi Vehicles

West Philly.jpg

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