X Prize Foundation Finalizing Rules for High-Mileage Competition

The developers of the cultish X Prize want to award $25 million to the winner of a competition to develop a production-ready 100-mpg passenger vehicle.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

August 1, 2007

2 Min Read
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The X Prize Foundation says it still is working on rules for its planned $10 million prize for any development team that produces a super-efficient passenger vehicle with fuel economy exceeding 100 mpg (2.4 L/100 km).

A Washington-based spokeswoman tells Ward’s the foundation expects to finalize the rules before the end of the year.

The foundation hopes the competition will result in clean, efficient vehicles that help break the world’s addiction to crude oil and stem the effects of climate change.

The Santa Monica-based X Prize Foundation made headlines in 2004 when Mojave Aerospace Ventures LLC built and flew the world’s first private aircraft into space twice in two weeks to win the first $10 million X prize.

“This competition will help level the playing field and capture entrepreneurial, scientific and technical energy to bring about viable cars that consumers want to buy,” says Executive Director Mark Goodstein.

The draft guidelines require entrants to design and build production-capable, super-efficient vehicles. The vehicles then will compete in a series of rigorous stage races that test them under real-world driving requirements and conditions.

Apart from the fuel-consumption requirement, winning vehicles also will have to meet difficult emissions requirements.

“We are at a pivotal moment in time when promising new technologies, growing consumer demand and global politics make it ripe for a radical breakthrough in the cars we drive,” says Peter Diamandis, X Prize Foundation founder and chairman.

“The X Prize Foundation firmly believes we need desirable, affordable and fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. Our addiction to oil is hurting consumers, undermining the economy, exacerbating international conflicts, damaging the environment and threatening the health of the planet,” he says.

“We have made great progress in designing a competition that will capture the public’s imagination to solve these problems.”

Under the draft plans, competition will be open to multiple fuels and technologies. The guidelines introduce a new yardstick to replace “mpg” with “miles per gallon equivalent” (MPGe), which controls for energy equivalence, regardless of fuel or energy source.

The foundation says its goal is to stimulate automotive technology, manufacturing and marketing breakthroughs that radically reduce oil consumption and harmful emissions. It hopes the competition helps to spur development of a new generation of super-efficient and desirable mainstream vehicles that people want to buy.

“This will be a race for the ages, with major publicity and a big sack of cash waiting for the champion and, perhaps, our future hanging in the balance,” the foundation says.

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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