Friday, March 21, 2008

X-Prize Foundation announces $ 10 Million award for most fuel efficient car

An insurance company and a nonprofit group today announced plans to give $10 million to the team that designs, builds and brings to market the most viable and efficient vehicle that can get 100 miles per gallon of gasoline.

Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. and the X Prize Foundation jointly made the announcement at the New York International Auto Show.

The international competition, called the Progressive Automotive X Prize, was launched to help break the world's addiction to petroleum and stem the effects of climate change, according to the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit group that sponsors contests encouraging innovation.

The foundation billed the contest as independent and technology-neutral. It is open to teams from around the world that can design green vehicles that people want to buy and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.

"The Progressive Automotive X Prize is a call to action to promote and inspire innovation," said Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, in a statement. "The environmentally friendly cars created as a result of this competition will affect everyone who drives in ways we can't even imagine today."

The foundation said that so far, more than 60 teams from nine countries have signed a letter of intent to compete. Four teams and their vehicles were on hand at the auto show during the announcement today.

"Development of a superefficient car would be a major step forward in the fight against global warming, and it would help us reach our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 30% by 2030," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended the press conference today. "The Progressive Automotive X Prize is an excellent example of how the private sector can spur solutions to our most complex challenges."

The foundation will be accepting applications for the competition until midyear.

Teams and their plans will be examined for safety, cost, business plans and production feasibility. The teams that are accepted into the competition will race their vehicles across the U.S. in various legs in 2009 and 2010. Overall performance will be rated, along with emissions standards and their placement in the races.

Host cities for the races will be announced "soon," according to the X Prize Foundation.

In 2004, the X Prize Foundation awarded a $10 million prize in a global competition to design a private suborbital spacecraft.

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