WWU X Prize team passes range test, will conduct emissions and safety tests next week
Photo courtesy of the Western Washington University X Prize team
The Western Washington University X Prize team successfully completed the range test this morning at the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition, which is taking place at Michigan International Speedway in Detroit.
The team from WWU's Vehicle Research Institute didn't encounter any problems in completing the 68 miles required of vehicles in the alternative class during the morning track run.
Next up for WWU are the emissions and dynamic safety tests next week.
The emissions tests are only for vehicles with internal combustion engines. WWU's Viking 45 runs on a combination of an electric engine, powered by batteries, and a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. In the emissions tests, each vehicle will be connected to emissions test equipment and will complete eight miles on the track, or four laps, with an average speed of roughly 23 miles per hour. There will be six stops per lap.
The dynamic safety tests consists of several parts, according to the X Prize website:
- The first part has two elements, an acceleration (0 to 60 mph) test and a braking (60 to 0 mph) test. The test consists of acceleration from rest to 60 mph. Upon reaching 60 mph, the driver will continue to hold his or her speed until the vehicle reaches the braking test area, whereupon the driver applies the brakes. The requirement for successfully completing this event is 0 – 60 mph in 15 seconds or less for the mainstream class and 18 seconds or less for the alternative class vehicles (of which WWU is a part). Required braking distance is 170 feet or less for both classes.
- The second part of this event is an accident avoidance test (double lane change). Generally, the driver will enter the test area under the command of the test team and drive the event at the prescribed speed. Upon completion of the pass through the test area, the driver returns to the starting area and will continue to run the test under the direction of the test team at increasing speeds until successfully passing at 45 mph without hitting any cones.
- The third part is a highway acceleration (40 to 65 mph) test. This consists of acceleration from rest to 40 mph. Upon reaching 40 mph, the driver will continue to his or her speed until the vehicle reaches the acceleration test area, whereupon the driver will accelerate to 65 mph. The requirement for successfully completing this event is a 40 to 65 mph acceleration time of 9 seconds or less for both classes. While participation is mandatory, unsuccessful completion of this test will not result in elimination from the competition.
- The fourth part is a lateral acceleration test. At the staging area, each vehicle will be outfitted with a lateral acceleration readout device to give the driver feedback as to the current value of lateral acceleration. The driver will enter the test area (a circle 300 feet in diameter) under the command of the test team and drive the course at a progressively increasing speed. In order to successfully pass this test, vehicles must achieve at least 0.7g lateral acceleration. Failure to reach this lateral acceleration level or reaching the limit of stability of the vehicle prior to 0.7g will constitute failure of the test. While participation is mandatory, unsuccessful completion will not result in elimination from the competition.
Successful completion of all events but the highway acceleration and lateral acceleration tests is required for vehicles to be eligible to compete in the finals stage of the competition. To date, WWU has successfully completed the technical inspection and the city, urban and highway efficiency tests, with an average miles-per-gallon equivalent of 82 (after the 10-mpg penalty was deducted for problems related to the V45's 12-volt starter battery). The minimum MPGe for the efficiency events was 67. And as of this morning, WWU also has successfully completed the range test. Only the emissions and safety events remain for the knockout round of competition.
The WWU team appeared in a video produced by the X Prize Foundation to introduce all of the various X Prizes, including the Ansari X Prize, which was awarded to the team that successfully traveled into space. WWU's appearance begins at 3:13 of this video.
Fans can cast their votes online now for which vehicle in the competition is the most stylish. WWU's Viking 45 is currently in 14th place. Voting for most stylish runs through July 5. Other polls that will be available later are most innovative, most practical and most wanted.
Stay up to date
In addition to following the car's performance live online, try these other ways of keeping in touch with the Viking 45's progress through the X Prize competition:
- Follow the WWU X Prize team: @WWUXPRIZETEAM.
- Follow the Progressive Automotive X Prize: @progautoxp.
- Conduct a search for hashtag #PIAXP.
- Updates specific to WWU also will be posted on the @wwunews and @WesternToday Twitter feeds.
- Check back here at Western Today for any updates as they come available.