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This article was published 3/9/2009 (4396 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
KOR Ecologic Inc., which consists of about 30 professionals from Winnipeg, is one of 111 entrants from around the world that have registered to compete in the U.S.-based Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize competition.
X-Prize is offering $10 million in prize money for teams that can design, build and sell super-efficient cars people want to buy.
The teams that have registered are from 25 U.S. states and 11 countries, and include nine from Canada. They'll learn on Oct. 19 who has been officially accepted into the competition.
Once accepted, they'll have to produce a working version of their car and compete in a series of races designed to simulate real-world driving conditions. The races are to begin next May and the winning teams will get a share of the prize money.
KOR Ecologic calls its three-wheeled vehicle the Urbee, which is short for urban electric with ethanol as backup. It's designed to run on electricity and ethanol up to a speed of 65 kilometres per hour, and on electricity from 65 to 112 km/h.
Jim Kor and the other Team Urbee members, who include professional engineers, technicians, industrial designers, welders and machinists, have been working on the Urbee project for about 10 years.
Kor said Thursday their goal was to design a car that requires little energy to operate and could run on renewable forms of energy, such as electricity and ethanol.
"We have designed a truly 'green' car appropriate for the times...," Kor said. "We think young people will want this type of car and we believe there exists a business in either licensing, franchising, or manufacturing this car locally, and then around the world."
Kor Ecologic is a recently created subsidiary of KOR Product Design, a 25-year-old international design consultancy with clients in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Kor said that for decades, the members of KOR Product Design have been developing energy-efficient transportation solutions for their clients.
They hit on the idea of developing an ecological, street-legal car after developing a personal rapid transit (PRT), rail-based vehicle for one of KOR's clients.
The Globe and Mail newspaper reported Thursday some of the other Canadian entries in the X-Prize competition include an electric car fuelled by hydrogen, a gasoline/electric car, and several pure electric cars.
It said that even musician and former Winnipegger Neil Young is taking a run at it. He's entered his 1959 Lincoln Continental, which has been retrofitted to run as an electric car.