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

January 14, 2009

Progressive Automotive X Prize Expanded to Include Major Automakers

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize announced on January 11 that it has established a new Demonstration Division designed specifically for large automakers. While the Progressive Automotive X Prize is mainly intended to award teams that demonstrate clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed the fuel economy equivalent of 100 miles per gallon of gasoline, the new Demonstration Division will allow manufacturers to display and promote their currently available high-efficiency vehicles. While the new division is no eligible for a share of the $10 million prize purse, it will address the fact that actual high-volume production vehicles involve substantial tradeoffs and face more engineering challenges than developmental vehicles that are capable of being mass produced, but have not been engineered and optimized for large-scale production. The vehicles must be either in production of committed for production and sale in the United States or the European Union by 2012. See the press release from the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize.

The new Demonstration Division will also present a rare opportunity for major automakers to display their hypermiling skills. "Hypermiling," by the way, is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary at the attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one's vehicle and one's driving techniques. It also happens to be the 2008 Word of the Year for that dictionary, according to an entry on the Oxford University Press blog.