Automobile X Prize (AXP) for Super Efficient Vehicles

Progressive Insurance has put up $10 million prize money to be won by cars that average over 100/200 (see table below) miles per gallon (equivalent), emit no more than 200 grams per mile of greenhouse gases, meet automobile safety standards, are comfortable, and capable of being mass produced and sold for a profit.   Over ninety teams have registered to compete.   These vehicles can be all electric, hybrid, or use alternative fuels (ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, natural gas, for example).  The entries are divided into two categories: Mainstream and Alternative.

REQUIREMENTS                     MAINSTREAM              ALTERNATIVE

Min # Of Occupants 4 2
Type of Seating Front seats side-by-side Tandem or side-by-side
Min # of Wheels 4 No minimum
Min Range, Miles 200 100
Min Accel, 0-60 in seconds 10 18
Required Features Air, Heat and Audio sys. None

All qualified teams will participate in semi-finals begining in early May 2010.  After the finalists are determined, a 2 to 4 week hiatus will take place for working on and testing the vehicles.  The final race, consisting of 4 to 6 stages, will begin in mid-August 2010.  The racing rules are not particularly complex, but there are too many to note in this entry.  Also a note of caution,  some of the rules are still being written or rewritten.

The Mainstream winner will win a $5 million prize and the two Alternative classes, Tandem and Side-By-Side will each win $2.5million.

Progressive Insurance says they want “to inspire a new generation of super-efficient vehicles that help break our addition to oil and stem the effects of climate change. “  Getting the best ideas out there for more efficient vehicles is great idea even if Progressive’s stated premise is wrong-headed in my view.

Now you might think that GM, Ford, Toyota, etc would be competing at least in the Mainstream category, but that is not the case.   The biggest manufacturing company, in my not too sophisticated view, is TATA from India.   Some of the claims by the big manufactures would seem to indicate that their cars would be competitive. Although, because of the tight standards of the XPrize, they might not fare too well.  However,   I suspect that the real reason is that they view their participation as nothing to gain and a lot to loose.   Anyway, in my next blog I will do a review of the GM, Toyota, etc as well as smaller companies like Tesla.

The XPrize has a team listing.    Most of the team’s discuss the category they are competing in, the type of power train, some blovation, and often a picture of the car or cars they are entering.   Some really slick looking cars, an occasional truck, revamped Saturn’s and a foam body car (Spira) that is good in a crash the team says and besides it can float.  Aptera is a neat Alternative.   This is the best place to see the latest    click here.

See Aptera video here

Just for big pictures of the cars,  take a look at this entry at a time when there were about 25 teams versus the new total of nearly 100.  Click here

Stay tuned. I will up-date the status of the program on occasion.


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