X PRIZE for ‘Green’ Cars

The X PRIZE Foundation recently announced they are sponsoring the newly renamed Progressive Automotive X PRIZE International Competition. This $10 million competition is designed to bring about radical breakthroughs by encouraging the design and creation of a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles, which will also be affordable for the average consumers.

The X PRIZE Foundation is well known for encouraging progress and innovation through competition. Following the success of the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, which encouraged a revolution in private suborbital spaceflight (winners were designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen), the foundation recently announced a new future Automotive X PRIZE. The X PRIZE Foundation keeps unveiling new X PRIZEs in different fields in which innovations and revolutions are necessary. Among the foundation’s competitions are the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics and the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE Competition. The X PRIZE Foundation is currently developing the Energy & Environment Prize.

So far, more than 60 teams from 9 countries have signed a letter of intent to compete in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Competition. Progressive’s CEO, Glenn Renwick, commented “We’ve been working hard to make a difference in car insurance for 70 years. Now we have a chance to make a difference by supporting the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. This competition will result in more choices of more fuel-efficient vehicles for drivers and will be a catalyst for moving this technology forward, faster.”

The competition will be held in two classes of vehicles: Mainstream and Alternative. Mainstream vehicles are required to have a minimum of four wheels and must be capable of carrying a minimum of four passengers while allowing for a 200-mile range. Alternative vehicles must carry a minimum of two passengers, do not have a requirement for a specific number of wheels, and must allow for a 100-mile range.

The long-distance qualifying race and the grand prize final race will take place in 2009-2010. The vehicles will have to navigate through race courses designed to imitate typical consumer driving patterns. The vehicle that will complete both races with the lowest overall time, while meeting the requirements for 100 MPGe fuel economy and low emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, will be declared the winner.

FuelVapor Technologies (FVT), a small, clean tech R&D company, is one of the companies planning to compete in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Competition with their newest ale (allay) prototype. Still in development stages, this car will be fuel-efficient, as it operates mostly on electric power. This innovative hybrid sports car is a 3-wheeler that reach a speed of60 mph within 5 seconds, has a 1.7 G’s cornering ability, and 92 mpg US (2.56 L/100km). FVT is planning to top that with their newest model.

TFOT recently covered the unveiling of Space Ship Two, which was based on the Ansari X Prize winning technology of Space Ship One, the world’s first privately developed and funded manned spacecraft. TFOT also reported on a lunar spacecraft developed by the Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace Company, which was demonstrated at the Wirefly X Prize Cup.

More information about the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Competition can be found here.

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