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HuffPost Innovators Series: The Automotive X PRIZE Finalists (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 09/13/10 02:21 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 06:40 PM ET

In the latest edition of the HuffPost Innovators series (check out previous editions here, here and here), we've compiled some of the most promising eco-friendly cars in the world. And, yes, they are fast. Very fast.

The seven vehicles below are all finalists in the $10 million Progressive Automotive Insurance X PRIZE. The X PRIZE Foundation is a Playa Vista, Calif.-based non-profit that organizes prizes and competitions to drive "radical breakthroughs" in technology and innovation. (The foundation recently challenged innovators to help solve the Gulf oil spill.)

The requirements? Each car must exceed a 100 mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency standard and can be fueled by any energy type, including gasoline, hydrogen or grid electricity The competition was held in several stages, including a lab-based series of tests and on-track stage. Judges evaluated each car on aspects like cost, fuel efficiency and design.

After eliminating all but seven of the 111 entrants, on September 16 in Washington, D.C. the X PRIZE Foundation will anoint one winner in the "mainstream class," which will receive $5 million, and the remaining funds will be split between the two winners of the alternative class of vehicles.

Which car is the most innovative? Check them out and vote for your favorite below.

(We are still looking for submissions to HuffPost's Innovators Series! To submit an innovative entrepreneur, startup or established company, click "ADD A SLIDE" below and upload a short description and picture of the founder or business leader you'd like to nominate. Note: Please skip the marketing jargon and keep your descriptions short. If your story is compelling, a HuffPost staffer will contact you to learn more about your story.)

Know an innovative start-up, entrepreneur or an established company that's changing the way we think about business? Tell us how you're innovating! Let us hear from you!
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Aptera (Playa, CA)
Founder: Steve Fambro
Vehicle Name: 2e
Fuel Type: Electric
Powertrain: BEV
Class: Alternative (Side‐by‐Side)

Aptera believes they've built a do-it-all electric car: their "2e" is slim and small, but strong and dominant. The car has a dent-resistant body that is three times stronger than steel, and it is capable of going from zero to 60 in under 10 seconds and reaching a top speed of 90 miles per hour. Steve Fambro is founder of Aptera, which launched in 2000 and is one of the fastest growing alternative energy companies in the U.S., and the company has secured funding from Idealab founder Bill Gross, among others.

Fambro is determined to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil and believes that creating vehicles that use 10 times less energy than the average car is the first of many crucial steps.
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Filed by Ryan McCarthy  |