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Automotive XPrize Sets $10M Purse from Progressive Insurance
Mar 21, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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The Automotive XPrize, first announced in March 2006 by the X PRIZE Foundation, best-known for the $10M competition that led to the 2004 flights of SpaceShip One, has announced its major sponsors and the $10M bounty. Many of the competitors registered to date are familiar to those following the small PHEV startup world.

We've written about the prize in the past, including the challenges inherent (some still unresolved) in creating a spectacular prize that could attract media attention with a cross-country race, what amount would be needed to attract attention, how to recognize the value of cars used mainly for commuting, the need to motivate designs that could actually be mass-produced and the criteria for how to judge "100+MPG." Following is the official press release.

X PRIZE Foundation & Progressive Insurance Join Forces to Officially Announce the $10 Million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE -- the Race to Develop Ultra Fuel-Efficient Cars During Today's Launch, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Declared New York City as Host of First Stage of Competition, Scheduled to Begin in September 2009

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - March 20, 2008) Today at the New York International Auto Show, the X PRIZE Foundation and Progressive (NYSE: PGR) jointly announced the company's Title Sponsorship of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE competition and its funding of the $10 million prize purse.

The newly renamed Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an international competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. The independent and technology-neutral competition is open to teams from around the world that can design, build and bring to market 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people want to buy, and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.

To date, more than 60 teams from nine countries have signed a Letter of Intent to compete for a share of the prize purse and global publicity.

"The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is a call to action to promote and inspire innovation," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. "The environmentally friendly cars created as a result of this competition will affect everyone who drives in ways we can't even imagine today. Let the race begin!"

"We've been working hard to make a difference in car insurance for 70 years," said Progressive's CEO, Glenn Renwick. "Now we have a chance to make a difference by supporting the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. This competition will result in more choices of more fuel-efficient vehicles for drivers and will be a catalyst for moving this technology forward, faster."

"This competition represents what we're all about in name and spirit--new ideas, competition and always working to do better," added Renwick. "Being a part of this gives us a chance to make a real difference."

At today's New York International Auto Show, four teams and their vehicles joined representatives of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was also on hand in support of the initiative.

"The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an excellent example of how the private sector can spur solutions to our most complex challenges," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Here in New York City, we are also stepping up to the plate on energy conservation, by transforming our taxi fleet into hybrids and cutting the City's energy use by 30% over the next ten years. It's all part of PlaNYC, our plan to create a greener, greater New York."

The Mayor added, "Development of a super-efficient car would be a major step forward in the fight against global warming -- and it would help us reach our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 30% by 2030. To maximize national and international awareness of the X PRIZE, I am pleased to announce that New York will be the starting point for the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE race next year."

The X PRIZE Foundation, best known for the successful $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private suborbital spaceflight, is an educational nonprofit whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity by holding $10 million dollar (or larger) competitions to solve some of the world's greatest challenges.

Several teams in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE's Letter of Intent program will be on hand to speak with the media throughout the show. A complete list of teams that have already signed a Letter of Intent to compete is included below.

The window for applications will be open until mid 2008, when a thorough qualification process will assess safety, cost, features and business plans to ensure that only production-capable, consumer-friendly cars compete. Those that qualify will race their vehicles in rigorous cross-country stage races in 2009 and 2010 that combine speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance. The winners will be the vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe, meet strict emissions standards and finish in the fastest time. Host cities involved in the competition route are to be announced shortly.

About the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Competition:

The goal of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage race for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe.

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on affordability, safety, and the environment. It is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers want to buy, not science projects or concept cars. This progress is needed because today's oil consumption is unsustainable and because automotive emissions significantly contribute to global warming and climate change.

About the Competition:

Draft Guidelines that specify vehicle requirements and other aspects of the competition are available at­auto/­automotive-x-prize/­draft-guidelines. A summary of the current guidelines follows: The competition will comprise two vehicle classes: Mainstream and Alternative. Mainstream vehicles will be required to carry four or more passengers, have four or more wheels, and allow for a 200-mile range. Alternative-class vehicles will be required to carry two or more passengers, have no constraints on the number of wheels, and allow for a 100-mile range. All vehicles will need to meet requirements for performance and features to make the cars attractive to consumers. The competition will culminate with two dramatic, long-distance stage races in 2009-2010 -- a Qualifying Race and the Grand Prize Final Race. Race courses will reflect typical consumer driving patterns during numerous stages, in varied terrain, communities, and weather conditions. To win, vehicles must complete both races with the lowest overall time averaged over all scoring stages while still meeting the requirements for 100 MPGe fuel economy and low emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. The $10 million prize purse will be split 3:1 between the winners of the Mainstream and Alternative classes. Final guidelines will be published shortly.

Support for the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE:

Support and encouragement has been received from government agencies that will help the privately funded organization conduct the competition and test vehicle compliance, including the U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory; the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway, Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ); and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

In addition, non-governmental organizations supporting the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE include the National Resources Defense Council, The Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, Union of Concerned Scientists, the Apollo Alliance, the Consumer Federation of America, Global Green USA and CALSTART, among others.

Sponsors and Donors of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE: -- The prize's Title Sponsor is Progressive Insurance -- The U.S. Department of Energy is the Sponsor of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Education Program, and Adobe® and Idealab® are Supporting Sponsors -- Auto Research Center (ARC) is the Official Performance Simulation Provider -- Ray Sidney of Big George Ventures is a prize benefactor, and the following people are patron donors: Gil & Elyssa Elbaz, Jack Hidary, Jeffery Shames, and Nadine Weil

Teams in the Letter of Intent Program: As of March 20, the following teams have signed a Letter of Intent to compete:

-- AirShip Technologies Group (Lake Oswego, OR, USA) -- Alpha-Core/Poulsen Hybrid (Bridgeport, CT, USA) -- Aptera Motors (Carlsbad, CA, USA) -- Arkas Automotive (Istanbul, Turkey) -- Avion Car Company (Bellingham, WA, USA) -- Brilliant Automotive, (Fairfield, IA, USA) -- Belloso Motor Company (Salisbury, MD, USA) -- Brilliant Automotive (Southfield, IA, USA) -- Commuter Cars Corp (Spokane, WA, USA) -- Cornell University (Ithaca, NY, USA) -- DEHyds (Tenino, WA, USA) -- Delta Motorsport (Northamptonshire, UK) -- Desert Fuel (Phoenix, AZ, USA) -- Disruptech (Newhall, CA, USA) -- Team Dragonfly (Northampton, UK) -- Electric Truck Inc (Greenwich, CT, USA) -- Energy Highway (Pleasanton, CA, USA) -- Esterer Engineering Ltd. (Vancouver, BC, Canada) -- FuelVapor Technologies BC, (Maple Ridge, BC, Canada) -- Global-E (Mandeville, LA, USA) -- Goodwin-Young "Linc Volt" (Wichita, KS, USA) -- Greenhouse 2000 (Orlando, FL, USA) -- Gunn Team (San Jose, CA, USA) -- HerfDuo (Berlin, Germany) -- Hybrid Technologies (Mooresville, NC, USA) -- HyKinesys (Rolling Hills Estate, CA, USA) -- ICEwave (Terre Haute, IN, USA) -- Illuminati (Virden, IL, USA) -- Kinetic Vehicles (Creswell, OR, USA) -- Kuttner Doran Innovations (Charlottesville, VA, USA) -- laeN'O (Marshall, NC, USA) -- Loremo (Munich, Germany) -- Lydell Industries (Frewsburg, NY, USA) -- Maine Automotive X (Camden, ME, USA) -- Mann Research & Development, (Benton, KY, USA) -- MDI and Zero Pollution Motors, (Nice, France and New Paltz, NY, USA) -- Michigan Vision (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) -- Miles Electric Vehicles (Santa Monica, CA, USA) -- Motive Industries, Inc. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) -- MotoTron Disrupt (Oshkosh, WI, USA) -- Northwest Energy Research Association (Arlington, WA, USA) -- Phoenix Motorcars (Ontario, CA, USA) -- Physics Lab of Lake Havasu (Lake Havasu, AZ, USA) -- Porteon Electric Vehicles, Inc. (Portland, OR, USA) -- Prometheus Systems (Flagstaff, AZ, USA) -- Psycho-Active (Moore, SC, USA) -- RaceAbout Association (Helsinki Finland) -- Red Light Racing (RLR) (Callaway, MD, USA) -- Revolución Motors (Lawrence, KS, USA) -- Society for Sustainable Mobility (Beverly Hills, CA, USA) -- Spirit One (Alberta, CA, USA) -- T3 Motion (Costa Mesa, CA, USA) -- Team TWIKE IV (Germany) -- Tesla Motors (San Carlos, CA, USA) -- Tilting Vehicle Australia (Kilburn, Australia) -- TriTrack (Georgetown, TX, USA) -- USA Electric Cars, LLC (Cortland, NY, USA) -- Valentin Technologies (Elm Grove, WI, USA) -- Velozzi (Beverly Hills, CA, USA) -- Venture Vehicles (Beverly Hills, CA, USA) -- Visionary Vehicles (New York, NY, USA) -- West Philly Hybrid X Team (Philadelphia, PA, USA) -- Western Washington University/Vikings (Bellingham, WA, USA) -- X Tracer Team Switzerland (Winterthur, Switzerland) -- ZAP (Santa Rosa, CA, USA)

About the X PRIZE Foundation:

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit or email prcontact@....

For more information about the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE, please visit or email progressiveautopress@....

About Progressive: Progressive, founded in 1937, is a leading insurer of cars, motorcycles, recreation vehicles, boats, personal watercraft and commercial vehicles. The company offers competitive rates and products that meet drivers' needs throughout their lifetimes as well as 24/7 online and in-person customer and claims service. Progressive's products and services are available locally through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies in the U.S., online at and by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737).

Automotive X PRIZE

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