After falling short in last summer’s Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition, the Illuminati team’s vehicle, “Seven,” has recently proven itself, hitting 207.5 miles per gallon equivalent at a test drive at Chrysler’s track in Michigan. Quite a feat, especially since last summer’s winner, the Edison2 Very Light Car, achieved only half of that at 102.5 MPG equivalent. The team set out to prove that hybrid electric cars could be more efficient, and we think they made their point.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency coined the MPGe comparative so that consumers could rank electric, hybrid and gasoline powered cars’ efficiency within the same parameters. The aptly named Illuminati team, comprised of volunteers from the U.S., felt that big name car manufacturers were not making electric and hybrid vehicles as efficient as they could be – like the Nissan Leaf ,which only achieves 99 MPGe. Thus, the Seven project was born, and successfully uses just 33.7 kW of electricity per gallon.
Wanting to create a commercially drivable car, rather than a test car for efficiency, the team made the Seven street legal, and outfitted it with consumer features like air conditioning and a stereo. The exterior is a somewhat retro-futuristic, with teardrop shaped fenders that are reminiscent of Model T fenders, as well as 1950s shark fins. Seven can accelerate from 0-60 in just eight seconds, reaching 130 mph, with an endurance of around 200 miles on average.
The Illuminati team doesn’t have plans to make Seven a commercially available vehicle any time soon, but hope that their point has been proven and that big auto manufacturers will take heed to their testing and focus on higher efficiency versus style.