Automotive X-Prize Profile: OptaMotive

Over the next few months and at a casual, intermittent pace, I’m going to use this blog to profile official contenders in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize. I’ll provide links so interested readers can explore them further, and 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 OptaMotive out of Canada and California.


Vehicle name: Surge

Fuel(s): Electric

Class*: Alternative

*The Alternative class is “An outlet for innovation, with fewer performance & design Restrictions.”

Key Technology

The OptaMotive "Surge" is a reimagined T-Rex from Campagna Motors, with an electric drive train in place of the motorcycle engine. It'll use lithium-based batteries and the team believes they can achieve a charge range in excess of 100 miles and a fuel economy of around 150 MPGe.



I'll leave it to them: "OptaMotive believes that efficiency can co-exist in a 'fun-to-drive' vehicle and believes the market adoption rates will increase dramatically when high-efficiency is readily available in vehicles which consumers 'want' to own and drive."


Mark Demers. Demers is a self-described "Visionary and Optimist" (I don't see why not, it's not repetitive, can co-exist) with an engineering degree who by trade works in technical sales and marketing. He's a leading member of CM Robotics—a name that you either know really well or not at all. CM Robotics is the creator of "Ziggy", a champion robot (or battlebot) which has won Gold in the super-heavyweight (340 lbs) combat-class at RoboGames 2006, 2007, and 2008.

From the clips I watched on YouTube, Ziggy appears to be something of a one-trick-pony, but it's one of those tricks that brings the house down: Ziggy's got a flipping arm that delivers over 7,000 lbs of explosive thrust, frequently launching the competition 10-20 feet in the air.

Financial backing

Not available, but keep in mind that OptaMotive only applied for the competition in February, prior to the final deadline.

External links

Previous Automotive X-Prize Profiles:

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


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