Big Incentive for Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
NEW YORK – The X Prize Foundation, best known for its competitions promoting spaceflights, is offering $10 million to the teams that can produce the mostproduction-ready vehicles that get 100 miles per gallon or more, according to the Web site http://news.yahoo.com.
More than60 teams from nine countries have signed up for the competition so far,including California electric carmakers ApteraMotors and Tesla Motors, German diesel carmaker Loremo, and a team from Cornell University.
Teamswill be able to sign up through mid-2008, when applicants will be narrowed tothose who can prove they would build production-ready, consumer-friendly cars.Those that qualify will race their vehicles in cross-country races in 2009 and2010 that will combine speed, distance, urban driving, and overall performance.
The pursewill be split between two categories: mainstream and alternative cars.Mainstream cars must carry four or more passengers and have climate control, anaudio system and 10 cubic feet of cargo space. They also must have four or morewheels, hit 60 miles per hour in less than 12 seconds and have a minimum topspeed of 100 miles per hour and a range of 200 miles.
Alternativevehicles will be required to carry two or more passengers and five cubic feetof cargo, have a top speed of at least 80 miles per hour and have a range of atleast 100 miles.
BritishColumbia-based Fuelvapor Technologies is among the competitors. Vice PresidentTodd Pratt said the six-person company, which has funding from 47 shareholders,has spent more than two years developing its car.
The carhas 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 replacestraditional fuel injection. The car currently gets 92 miles per gallon, but thecompany thinks a hybrid version could achieve up to 400 miles per gallon.
The SantaMonica, Calif.-based X Prize Foundation, which was founded in 1995, gained famein 2004 when it awarded $10 million to the first private vehicle to fly intospace. The foundation since has launched a $10 million prize for rapid humangenome sequencing and a $30 million prize for sending a robot to the moon.