The backroom brawl over the $2.5 million automotive X Prize has gone public.
The winning team, Li-ion Motors Corp., said yesterday that the "gentleman's agreement" signed by its chief engineer isn't valid because one of the five finalists didn't sign. But a person who organized the agreement says that's false.
"Not one single team expressed the idea that the agreement was in any way invalid for any reason -- not from the time each team signed, up to the time the awards were distributed," said Randy Reisinger, a member of the German team TW4XP.
Li-ion Motors posted a news release on its website yesterday indicating it doesn't plan to honor the agreement. The release provides the company's version of events for the first time(E&ENews PM, Nov. 17).
"Li-ion agreed to the prize-sharing arrangement based on all teams participating," the company says in the release. "Due to the decision of RaceAbout from Finland, the proposed agreement never became final."
Li-ion (pronounced "lion") Motors and TW4XP were two of four finalist teams to sign the agreement, moments before the final race, to share any prize money (Greenwire, Oct. 18). The other two teams in the agreement were ZAP of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Aptera Motors of San Diego. RaceAbout was the only one of the five teams in the category that didn't sign.
The prize was formally awarded Sept. 16. The X Prize Foundation didn't send Li-ion Motors the money until Oct. 27 (Greenwire, Oct. 28). People familiar with the deal said there was tussling behind the scenes as to whether the X Prize Foundation should distribute the money according to the agreement or send the entire purse to Li-ion....MORE