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

April 08, 2009

Progressive Automotive X Prize Names 111 Registered Teams

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize, a multimillion-dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles, announced on April 7 its official list of 111 registered teams. The teams hail from 25 U.S. states and 10 other countries, and they collectively represent 136 vehicles. Although six teams remain confidential, the publicly available list still includes only one major automaker—the U.K. branch of Tata Motors Limited, India's largest automaker—as well as a couple university teams (Cornell University and Western Washington University) and a handful of recognizable small and startup companies, such as Aptera Motors, Lightning Hybrids, Myers Motors, Tesla Motors, and ZAP. Many of the teams carry more obscure or humorous names suggestive of small, one-time efforts, such as "GotPower," "V-Mobile," and "XLR8SUN." Among the smaller teams is the Goodwin-Young LincVolt team, which has electrified Neil Young's 1959 Lincoln Continental.

The LincVolt team is among the majority of teams that plan to bring all-electric or hybrid electric vehicles to the competition, although there are also a fair number of vehicles that will run entirely on gasoline or diesel fuel. A few teams will use alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, and E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), while some teams will draw on more exotic fuels, like biobutanol, solar power, human power, urea, compressed air, and even water. In the coming months, each registered team will undergo design judging based on their detailed data submission, which will provide information on their vehicle's features and their team's production capability and business plan. Those that pass the design judging will move into the performance testing phase.

In that final phase, teams will compete for their share of a $10 million prize purse, which will be awarded to teams that win a rigorous long-distance stage competition and can achieve a fuel economy that exceeds the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon of gasoline. That phase of the competition will start as early as May 2010, but the actual competition start date and the number and specific location of venues for the competition haven't been announced yet. The X Prize Foundation plans to announce those details by this summer, with the goal of awarding the prize sometime in 2010. The Progressive Automotive X Prize is coordinated by the X Prize Foundation and sponsored by Progressive, while DOE is contributing to a complementary educational effort. See the Progressive Automotive X Prize press release and list of registered teams (PDF 159 KB). Download Adobe Reader.