Big Incentive for Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
NEW YORK – The X Prize Foundation, best known for its competitions promoting space
flights, is offering $10 million to the teams that can produce the most
production-ready vehicles that get 100 miles per gallon or more, according to the Web site http://news.yahoo.com.
60 teams from nine countries have signed up for the competition so far,
including California electric carmakers Aptera
Motors and Tesla Motors, German diesel carmaker Loremo, and a team from Cornell University.
will be able to sign up through mid-2008, when applicants will be narrowed to
those who can prove they would build production-ready, consumer-friendly cars.
Those that qualify will race their vehicles in cross-country races in 2009 and
2010 that will combine speed, distance, urban driving, and overall performance.
will be split between two categories: mainstream and alternative cars.
Mainstream cars must carry four or more passengers and have climate control, an
audio system and 10 cubic feet of cargo space. They also must have four or more
wheels, hit 60 miles per hour in less than 12 seconds and have a minimum top
speed of 100 miles per hour and a range of 200 miles.
vehicles will be required to carry two or more passengers and five cubic feet
of cargo, have a top speed of at least 80 miles per hour and have a range of at
least 100 miles.
Columbia-based Fuelvapor Technologies is among the competitors. Vice President
Todd Pratt said the six-person company, which has funding from 47 shareholders,
has spent more than two years developing its car.
has three wheels and two seats and has the aerodynamic design of a jet cockpit.
It is gas powered but saves fuel through a proprietary technology that replaces
traditional fuel injection. The car currently gets 92 miles per gallon, but the
company thinks a hybrid version could achieve up to 400 miles per gallon.
Monica, Calif.-based X Prize Foundation, which was founded in 1995, gained fame
in 2004 when it awarded $10 million to the first private vehicle to fly into
space. The foundation since has launched a $10 million prize for rapid human
genome sequencing and a $30 million prize for sending a robot to the moon.