DOE Pledges $3.5 Million for Auto X PRIZE Education and Outreach
March 20, 2008
DOE announced on March 20th that it will award a grant of nearly $3.5 million to the X PRIZE foundation for an education and outreach component of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE (AXP) program. The grant will be used to conduct outreach activities and vehicle demonstrations that encourage students and the public to learn more about advanced vehicle technologies and important skills, such as teamwork; creativity; strong literacy, math and science skills; and innovative thinking. The outreach activities will also include an interactive, online component with information for students, parents, and teachers. See the DOE press release and the AXP Web site.
AXP is an international competition that challenges competitors to design, build, and bring to market a car that exceeds 100 miles per gallon, or its energy equivalent fuel efficiency, while meeting market requirements for size, capability, affordability, and safety. As DOE announced its grant, AXP announced Progressive Insurance as its title sponsor for the prize purse, which will be set at $10 million. To date, more than 60 teams from nine countries have signed up to compete for the prize. Applications for AXP will be taken until mid-year, at which time the applicants will go through a qualification process to confirm that their cars are production-capable and consumer-friendly.
The competition will be divided into two vehicle classes: mainstream and alternative. Mainstream vehicles must carry four or more passengers, have four or more wheels, and travel 200 miles or more without refueling. Alternative vehicles must carry two or more passengers, can have any number of wheels, and must travel 100 miles or more between refueling stops. Qualifying cars will compete in cross-country stage races in 2009 and 2010, and the prize will go to the car that finishes fastest while meeting the fuel economy requirements and strict air emissions requirements. The mainstream vehicle winner will take home a prize of $7.5 million, while the alternative vehicle winner will garner the remaining $2.5 million. See the AXP press releases and draft competition guidelines.