Automotive X Prize offers reward for first saleable 100-mpg car

To date, more than 120 automotive design teams from 28 U.S. states and 17 countries, have expressed their intent to compete for a $10 million purse.

To date, more than 120 automotive design teams from 28 U.S. states and 17 countries, have expressed their intent to compete for a $10 million (USD) purse, bankrolled by the X PRIZE Foundation (Playa Vista, Calif.) and insurance firm Progressive (Mayfield Village, Ohio). The award will go to the team that can design and build production-capable, 100 MPGe (miles-per-gallon energy equivalent) vehicle that will appeal to consumers and best meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.

Announced March 20 at the New York International Auto Show, the new X Prize’s competition already is heating up, with teams preparing applications for the first round of qualification.  The next phase includes a cross-country stage race, set to begin in September 2009 in New York. To win the $10 million purse, a vehicle must post fuel economy that exceeds 100 miles per gallon or its energy equivalent, fall under strict emissions caps and finish in the fastest time.

Recent signers of a letter of intent to compete include India’s Tata Motors, Maxi-Eco of Brazil, Drexell University, Western Washington University, Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies Inc. (Chicago, Ill.) and TTW Turin Italy of Turin, Italy. Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young also intends to enter his 1960 Lincoln Continental conversion into the competition, along with his partner Jonathan Goodwin. Interested teams, from established car manufacturers to startups, have an opportunity to join the competition through Jan. 1, 2009.

The X PRIZE Foundation previously bankrolled the highly publicized Ansari X Prize competition, which pitted privately funded space travel developers against each other in a race to launch the first successful suborbital manned space flight with no governmental aid. The Foundation subsequently announced the Google X PRIZE, offering $30 million to the team that mounts the first privately funded space mission Earth’s Moon, delivering to its surface a robot  capable of traveling 
500m/1,640 ft and successfully transmitting video 
images and data back to the Earth.

Information: progressiveautoxprize.org