PODCAST 115: Jason Fagone on his new Book ‘Ingenious’
November 13, 2013 Leave a comment
On Episode #115 author Jason Fagone talked about his new book ‘Ingenious.’ Jason has written about science, sports, and culture for Wired, GQ, Men’s Journal, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, Philadelphia, and the 2011 edition of The Best American Sports Writing. During the episode he gives insights into the Automotive X Prize that concluded in 2010. On Jason’s website it says he worked on this book for close to four years. “An old-fashioned tale of American invention — the story of a small group of tinkerers, garage hackers, racers, and entrepreneurs who tried to do something they were told was impossible.”
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The Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize was a set of competitions, programs and events, from the X Prize Foundation, to “inspire a new generation of super-efficient vehicles that help break America’s addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change.” A $10 million purse was divided between the winners of three competitions. The essence of each competition was to design, build and race super-efficient vehicles that achieved 100 MPGe efficiency, produced less than 200 grams/mile well-to-wheel CO2 equivalent emissions, and could be manufactured for the mass market. The competition concluded in 2010 with winners: Edison2, Li-Ion Motors, and X-Tracer.
The teams profiled in ‘Ingenious’ are West Philly Hybrid, Edison2, Illuminati and Aptera. Many of the teams were led by interesting characters, including Oliver Kuttner of Edison2, Kevin Smith of Illuminati, and Simon Hauger of West Philly Hybrid.
West Philly Hybrid is of particular interest. According to Fagone, high school Math teacher Simon Hauger decided to build cars to help his students learn more about math. They started a team of students that built various cars for alternative fuel competitions. As the only high school team entered in the Automotive X Prize, they quickly became a fan-favorite. While they didn’t reach the finals, the team earned worldwide recognition and eventually they appeared on CBS News and were invited to meet President Obama at The White House.
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