Hybrid built by West Philadelphia students wins another round

    Student-built car is besting ones engineered at major universities

    A team of public school students from West Philadelphia have passed a qualifying round on their quest to come up with a prize-winning design for a super fuel-efficient car. The ten-thousand-dollar “X” prize is sponsored by Progressive insurance.

    The last time we heard from West Philadelphia High School’s Hybrid X team, they were worried about going up against a gang of engineers from Cornell University and India’s Tata Motors.

    “When they get down to the sweet 16 in March Madness there’s always a small school that no one thought would be in it. We’re like that. We’re in a little over our head in many respects,” said Teacher Simon Hauger.

    Hauger and his team just learned they made the cut to go on to the next round. But team manager Ann Cohen says it wasn’t easy. One of the battery cells in their rebuilt Ford Focus didnt work, and the Harley Davidson engine gave them trouble.

    “We ultimately got the Harley started and blew through the finish line at 67 miles an hour on the Harley alone…that was very very stressful.”

    The number of competitors has been cut in half, and the team now faces another round of tests in mid-June. The finals take place in the fall.

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