The Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize has chosen Michigan to host a multi-stage competition that will determine the winners of its $10 million prize purse for super-fuel-efficient vehicles. This is a departure from previous plans, which called for a rigorous long-distance stage competition. Instead, the 51 competing cars from 41 teams will start on-track performance events at the Michigan International Speedway beginning on April 26 and continuing through July.
During these closed-door competition stages, the competition organizers will evaluate the efficiency, safety and performance of each competition vehicle under real-world conditions. The competition will feature a public open house at the Michigan State Capitol on April 29, and the racetrack will be open to the public at some time in July, but not during competitive events. In August, the vehicles will undergo dynamometer testing (similar to vehicle emissions tests) at a laboratory run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with technical support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. The on-track performance results and the lab test results will lead up to an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September. Specific dates for the final events will be announced later.
The goal of the Automotive X Prize is to inspire a new generation of viable, super-fuel-efficient vehicles. Prizes totaling $10 million will be awarded to the teams that win the competition to create clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed the energy equivalent of 100 miles per gallon of gasoline.
DOE is supporting the competition through a $3.5 million grant for an associated education program and through technical support, which is funded with $5.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Automotive X Prize is administered by the X Prize Foundation, an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.