This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 04, 2007

Automotive X Prize to Award Megabucks for Fuel-Efficient Cars

The X Prize Foundation is developing a multi-million dollar Automotive X Prize to inspire a new generation of super-efficient vehicles. Known for its $10 million Ansari X Prize, which spurred the development of private spacecraft, the X Prize Foundation now aims to encourage the development of clean, production-capable vehicles that can achieve a fuel economy equivalent to at least 100 miles per gallon of gasoline.

On April 2nd, the foundation published draft competition guidelines for the Automotive X Prize, allowing two vehicle classes: "Mainstream" vehicles that carry at least four passengers and have at least four wheels, and "Alternative" vehicles that can carry at least two passengers and have any number of wheels. The vehicles can be fueled with gasoline, alternative fuels, or electricity. As currently proposed, the Automotive X Prize will culminate in 2009 with two long-distance stage races that will expose the vehicles to a range of driving patterns over varied terrain and diverse weather conditions. To win the prize, vehicles must complete both races with the lowest overall time averaged over all scoring stages, while still meeting the requirements for fuel economy and emissions. Comments on the draft guidelines are due by May 31st. See the Automotive X Prize press release and draft guidelines.