Remember the X Prize?
It was the group that provided the $10 million dollar prize for the first private, reusable space vehicle. That prize was claimed in 2004 by SpaceShipOne, a private space ship that achieved an altitude of 71 miles. Now the X Prize Foundation is looking for something a little closer to home with the announcement of the Automotive X Prize. This $25 million award will go to the first individual or group that develops a vehicle that achieves 100 mpg.
Think you have heard it all before?
Well, maybe you have. Science projects by engineering students achieve mileage of 100, 200, and even infinite (solar) with some regularity. These vehicles are completely impractical, though, using space age materials and an extremely light construction to achieve these numbers. The Automotive X Prize is something more, shall we say, practical.
Beyond the requirement of at least 100 mpg, the winner of the Automotive X Prize must also fulfill other, more innovative, requirements. The preliminary guidelines say the winning vehicle must be production worthy, street legal and sell a certain number of examples before the prize can be claimed. This means that it must be crash worthy, carry two or four passengers, depending on the class of car, and carry safety equipment. Now this is a competition that can really help us all, and the $25 million dollar purse assures that there will be no shortage of innovators and tinkerers attempting to win.
S. Daniel Ackerman
Motors and Machines Writer
source: X Prize Foundation