Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How many 100-mile-per-gallon car models? X-Prize says maybe 136 of them.

There might not be a big selection of cars with superb fuel economy at the local car dealer in Hawai'i, but there should be soon.

(Image: Some of the X-Prize entries are shown off. Credit: Progressive Automotive X-Prize.)

The Progressive Automotive X-Prize today announced it has an amazing 111 qualified entrants, prepared to prove they can build safe, production-capable cars that consumers will buy—and which get the equivalent of 100 miles a gallon. The builders have 136 car designs.

That's more than four times the average fuel economy of American cars.

The payoff: the winning car designer, to be selected next year, gets $10 million.

Entrants from 25 states (there is no Hawai'i entry) and 11 nations represent individuals, car makers, universities and a range of groups.

A quarter would build full-on electric cars. Nearly another quarter gasoline or diesel cars. And another quarter gas or diesel hybrids. The remaining cars include multi-fuel, natural gas, compressed air, various biofuels and variants—one is even a combined human-gas-electric powered vehicle.

In appearance, they run the gamut. There are cars that look like traditional cars, and ones that look like golf carts. Ones that look like three-wheeled motorcycles, and like high-tech plastic spiders. Some are real spacey.

And a couple look like something the kid down the street made out of junk parts.

There are two classes. For your standard suburban driver who doesn't want to stand out too much, there's the Mainstream Class: “Mainstream Class vehicles must carry four or more passengers, have four or more wheels, and offer a 200 mile range.”

For those with an edge, there's the Alternative Class: “Alternative Class vehicles must carry two or more passengers, have no constraints on the number of wheels, and allow for a 100 mile range.”

There's also a Demonstration Division that doesn't qualify for the cash prize, in which established big car makers can show off their most fuel efficient design efforts.

Says Progressive: “In the coming months, Registered Teams will undergo Design Judging based on a detailed Data Submission package, which will provide information on their vehicle's features, production capability, safety and business plans. Those that pass Design Judging will move into the performance testing phase and partake in a series of competition events that will begin as early as May 2010.”

For more information visit http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/.

See our last post on the X-Prize here. For more RaisingIslands stories on efficient transportation, click the "efficient transportation" link in the right-hand column.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

1 comment:

Keahi Pelayo said...

Very cool. The test of their effectiveness will be if they can create a version that will sell.