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The quest to engineer a radically new kind of car.
When the X Prize Foundation announced that it would give $10 million to anyone who could build a safe, mass-producible car that could travel one hundred miles on the energy equivalent of a gallon of gas, the challenge attracted more than one hundred teams from all over the worldincluding dozens of amateurs. Many designed their cars entirely from scratch, rejecting decades of thinking about what a car should look like.
Jason Fagone follows four of those teams from the build stage to the final race and beyond. The result is a gripping story of crazy collaboration, absurd risks, and poignant losses. In an old pole barn in central Illinois, childhood sweethearts hack together an electric-powered dreamboat, using scavenged parts, forging their own steel and burning through their life savings. In Virginia, an impassioned entrepreneur and his hand-picked squad of speed build a car so light that you can push it across the floor with your thumb. In West Philly, a group of disaffected high school students come into their own as they create a hybrid car with the engine of a Harley motorcycle. And in Southern California, the early favoritea start-up backed by millions in venture capitaldesigns a car that looks like an alien egg.
Ingenious is a joyride. Fagone takes us into the garages and the minds of the inventors, capturing the fractious yet beautiful process of engineering a bespoke machine.