Custom Built FFR Runs Over 100 MPG & Co-Winner with Chevy Volt!
You may remember Simon Hauger and his team of high school kids from West Philly High School from last year’s Progressive Insurance X-Prize Competition where they were one of only twenty-two finalists. The car didn’t win the X-Prize, but Simon and his crew didn’t give up.
At last month’s Green Grand Prix, the team ended on the podium beating all entries. The Factory Five GTM averaged over 100 miles per gallon to win the 100 mile race! The Chevy Volt won the 50 mile race.
Watkins Glen International Speedway kicked off its opening weekend of festivities Friday with the Green Grand Prix. Now in its sixth year, the Green Grand Prix is a competition billed as the only road rally for alternate-fuel vehicles in the United States sponsored by the Sports Car Club of America.
The event drew 45 competitors – from the Chevy Volt and GM’s fuel cell powered SUV to homemade three-wheelers powered by industrial lawnmower engines and everything in between. The competitors were as interesting as their cars. Four teams from the Automotive X Prize showed up, including West Philadelphia High School and Cornell University.
The West Philly Team brought their highly tuned Factory Five GTM powered by a Volkswagen TDI engine running on 100% biodiesel.
“For the past month we worked to get the GTM ready for this competition. In the haste of the X Prize, we had cut lots of corners. We discovered why the car had not achieved the fuel economy we needed for the X Prize and fixed it. Our car is running better than it ever has … just in time for the race,” Stefon Gonzales, the team’s co-captained explained.
After two hours of racing, the results were tabulated. The Chevy Volt won the 50-mile race and West Philly had won the 100 mile. Simon Hauger, the team’s director, was elated. “We did really well in the X Prize but we didn’t win. It feels great to be in the winner’s circle next to the Chevy Volt today. I think we have a compelling car – it’s sexy, it’s fast, and we just got over 100 miles per gallon on a world famous track. Not bad for a high school.”
The custom TDI-powered GTM has been part of a development program for the last two years where we are looking seriously at high mileage, eco-friendly applications in Factory Five cars. In 2008, we built the battery-electric ’33 Hot Rod with SolidWorks and Hewlett Packard. We’ve also looked carefully at hybrid drive and one customer went so far as to built a turbine powered BEV GTM.
This GTM built by West Philly High School has direct applications to Factory Five products and you should see a variant of this technology in the near future.