Engineering grad takes top honors in one of the nation’s most innovative technical challenges

Vanderbilt engineering alumnus Brad Jaeger, BE’07 is part of an elite group of nine vehicles from seven teams that will continue in their pursuit of a multimillion dollar prize for super fuel-efficient cars. Jaeger is the Director of Research and Development for the Virginia-based team called Edison2.

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is a $10 million competition to inspire a new generation of super fuel efficient vehicles. Edison2 was announced as one of the finalist teams who survived all on-track testing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), and who now move into a Validation stage before prize money will be awarded this September.

What began as a field of 136 vehicles from 111 teams has now been narrowed to just seven teams that have proven they can meet the strictest requirements of this competition, including the ability to achieve at least 90 MPGe on the way toward the ultimate 100 MPGe requirement and to survive grueling dynamic safety and range tests.  The teams represent a wide variety of backgrounds that include emerging start ups, entrepreneurs and universities from around the world. All have proven that they can more than handle a variety of very difficult real-world scenarios.

Finalists were required to pass a repeat of technical inspections and on-track Efficiency, Range and Dynamic Safety events conducted by the competition’s technical team and auto test engineers from partner Consumer Reports.

“These finalists highlight true innovation in fuel efficiency, and prove that their vehicles have the ability to withstand strict safety, performance and emissions requirements. These cars redefine what is possible and set a new standard of efficiency that promises to revolutionize the industry,” said Eric Cahill, Senior Director of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.

“Congratulations to the finalist teams – it’s clear that they are pushing the envelope in terms of automotive innovation,” said Brian Silva, Progressive’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Their breakthroughs will spur greater choices in fuel-efficient cars that everyone can afford.”

Jaeger, a Cincinnati native, studied mechanical engineering, graduating Magna Cum Laude in May 2007.While at Vanderbilt, he was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and an active member in Vanderbilt’s Formula SAE program, designing and fabricating an open-wheel race car each year. Starting in go-karts at an age of 13, Jaeger has progressed through the ranks and is currently driving the McDonald’s Dallara Daytona Prototype for Doran Racing in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series. So far in his engineering career, he has worked with Lexmark International and Doran Enterprises, helping with their Ford GTR program.