Automotive X-Prize Profile: Avion Car Company

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.

Today I’ll be looking at Washington-based Avion Car Company, a team with a great pedigree that includes the Guinness world record for mpg.

Avion Car Company

Vehicle name: Avion

Fuel(s): Diesel

Class*: Alternative

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

Key Technology

The key to the Avion is design: they’re using lightweight, composite materials (carbon fiber, Kevlar, "S"-Glass) and experimental aerodynamics to increase performance and fuel efficiency in an otherwise standard diesel-powered car (four-wheel disks, independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering). The Avion utilizes a monocoque 6061 aluminum chassis and features semi-gull wing doors. Thus far they report having achieved 114 mpg driving at 55 mph.

Goal: The Avion team—and the vehicle itself—has been around a while. In that time they have established a reputation for design innovation that contributes directly to increased fuel efficiency. Consequently, their goal is to bring the Avion vehicle to market.

Leader: Craig Henderson. In 1986, Henderson drove the original Avion vehicle—which doesn’t differ a whole lot from the car the team’s bringing to the X-Prize—a total of 1,759 miles, averaging 103.7 mpg, a feat that landed him in the 1988 Guinness Book of World Records for “longest fuel range. According to the team’s web site, Henderson broke his own record in the Avion this past October.

Financial backing: Craig Henderson, Bullfrog Boats, Goodyear (tires), Canton Bandag Company

External links

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