Automotive X-Prize winners. Wondering where the third was? Hanging out in the booth of its creator, Li-Ion motors, looking green and decidedly outclassed by the second car that company is showing off. It's the Inizio, a proper supercar of the electric variety, the base model hitting 60 from a standstill in four seconds and topping out at 130 -- perhaps not Ferrari-busting but surely more than enough to get your license taken away. If that's not enough there will be multiple models with different power levels and carbon fiber construction, with the higher-end dropping that 0 - 60 time to 3.4 seconds and boosting the top speed to 200.
We spent some time chatting with Li-Ion Motors Project Manager Paul Daigrepont about the design of the car, most interesting being the transmission. It's a custom-made four-speed unit that, interestingly, has no clutch. It's directly driven by the motor, shifting via paddles with the ECU dropping the torque on the motor momentarily to unload the gears, allowing an upshift to happen. At a stop the motor simply stops spinning and, if you want reverse, the car engages first gear and runs backwards! The company is accepting orders, starting at $139,000, a price that makes the Leaf feel like even more of a bargain.