Consumer Reports covered the Automotive X Prize competition
Western Washington University Viking 45
Team Name: Western Washington University
Location: Bellingham, Wash.
Vehicle: Viking 45

Who are they? The only remaining American university team is backed by a legacy of fuel mileage records dating back to the mid-1970s. The school's Vehicle Research Institute has built 48 cars in the intervening years, including a few small series production runs, and one previous attempt at commercial production.

What they say will set them apart: The Viking 45 (named like all the school's cars after the University mascot) is a hybrid, using 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine and a lithium-ion battery. The weight target is 1,080 pounds.

Field notes: This sports car can go from green to mean, with a driver-selectable personality. The driver can choose to run just the electric motors, or add in the gasoline- or bio-methane-fueled engine for additional performance. The body has evolved from previous designs used by WWU, with modifications to improve roof-crush protection. The exterior shape has been sculpted in the school's scale wind tunnel.

Field notes:This team had some trouble passing the initial tech inspection in the Shakedown stage and was not allowed to practice. However, they passed all necessary tests during the Knockout stage.

Class: Alternative
No. of wheels: Four
Passengers: Two
Drive type: Rear-wheel-drive, hybrid gasoline or bio-methane electric
Power source: 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder/electric hybrid, with lithium-ion batteries

For more information, see the Western Washington University team page on the X Prize website.

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