Illuminati Motor Works isn’t competing in the Progressive Automotive X Prize finals this week. Towards the end of the knockout round a transmission failure made it impossible for the team to continue in the competition. Up until this mechanical problem Illuminati Motor Works had the best overall performance numbers of any vehicle competing in the Mainstream class. The Mainstream class was down to 2 teams when IMW had their transmission failure. Only one team remains in the competition for the Mainstream category – Edison2.
Why would Illuminati Motor Works use a manual transmission in an electric vehicle? I can think of several reasons. The team was trying to lower cost and score a few environmental points by using recycled parts. So they used what they could get access to at a reasonable price. Manual transmissions normally get better gas mileage. Since the Progressive Automotive X Prize is all about getting the most miles with less “fuel” using a manual might make sense to some.
Anyone who has read about Tesla Motors wouldn’t be surprised that a transmission is what gave Illuminati Motor Works the knockout punch. When developing the Tesla Roadster the transmission was one of the key elements that delayed this cars production. BorgWarner ended up providing the solution to the problem.
“The single-speed gearbox is built by Michigan-based supplier Borg Warner Inc.”
Illuminati Motor Works was one of the only teams with a somewhat normal looking car to survive the majority of the Progressive Automotive X Prize knockout round. The transmission failure took place during the 0-60 acceleration event. Several mechanical failures led up to this. Keep in mind that up until this point Seven ( IMW’s car ) had out performed every other vehicle in the Mainstream class. That isn’t some boast for the local team. When the numbers are analyzed that statement is fully supported.
I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to get that close to winning after all that hard work. Then again those efforts were validated by the performance numbers. I’m not sure anyone even realizes what was accomplished by this team. For roughly the cost of a Tesla Roadster – Illuminati Motor Works built a full size electric car that gets about the same mileage per charge as a Tesla. The team reported $120,000 as their cost estimate for producing Seven ( my $50 donation didn’t help out much ).
You have a small group of people who built a garage in the middle of Illinois corn fields developing a fully functional electric car with off the shelf parts. Their total cost for producing this prototype was about what the best known electric carmaker charges to purchase one car. Seven is larger than a Tesla Roadster and seats more people. The Illuminati Motor Works vehicle has slightly less performance in regards to 0-60 times.
Everyone bitches and moans about the American spirit and how this nation no longer produces anything. Yet when we have a team who shows innovation of days long past – no one celebrates it. If not for a 1997 Geo Metro transmission failing we would have an Illinois team winning the Mainstream class of the Progressive Automotive X Prize. I haven’t seen the Governor of Illinois, Illinois Senators or Mayors acknowledge Illuminati Motor Works accomplishments.