Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, Automotive Daring, and the Race to Revive America

Jason Fagone. Crown, $26 (384p) ISBN : 978-0-307-59148-7
Freelance journalist Fagone shadows four intriguing teams battling to win the X Prize, a grant of $10 million awarded to anyone who builds an efficient, mass-producible car capable of traveling 100 miles on a gallon of gas. Fagone says he’s “not a car person,” but he glowingly describes the X Prize’s creator, Peter Diamandis, whose challenge has encouraged more than 300 teams to go head to head for the honor. The author, with assistance from the contest’s committee, selects his subjects for their diversity. They include love-smitten Harry and Jen, who are working on a fiberglass body in a small Illinois community; a group of spunky West Philly school kids, who are building a pair of hybrids, with one earmarked for poorer drivers; Oliver Kuttner and his well-bankrolled Virginia team; and an ambitious California startup called Aptera Motors, which is building a sleek aerodynamic car. The book benefits from the author’s depiction of the labor and lives of its colorful, driven contestants of TV’s Dancing with the Stars. Anyone interested in how automobile dreams are born in this postbailout economy will delight in this fast, engaging read. Agent: Larry Weissman, Larry Weissman Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
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