Automotive X-Prize Announces First Teams

Illustration for article titled Automotive X-Prize Announces First Teams

Want a check for 10 extra-large (that's millions)? All you have to do is prove you can design, build and bring to market a car that can get 100 miles per gallon and that people will buy. It sounds simple enough, and 31 teams have already signed up to compete for the Automotive X-Prize (you remember the X-Prize people from the $10 million they gave Paul Allen's Mojave Aerospace Ventures for building the first private vehicle that could go into space; no, it wasn't a Delorean). Qualifying teams will race their vehicular entries in a cross-country competition combining speed, distance, pothole bashing (i.e., urban driving) and overall performance. The winners will be those exceeding 100 mpg (or the equivalent), hit strict targets for emissions and finish in the fastest time. No prob. Bring us a Rupp go-kart, a case of rubber bands and 100 quarts of 151-proof rum. It's on. (Shown: Aptera)


Press Release:

SANTA MONICA, Calif., August 1, 2007 —The Automotive X PRIZE (AXP), a competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles to help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change, announced today that over 30 teams have signed a letter of intent to compete once the prize is officially funded and launched.


The international competition, in which qualified teams will compete head to head, aims to dramatically increase consumer access to ultra-efficient, clean, affordable and desirable vehicles. The 30 plus teams include diverse groups from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. More than 300 additional teams have inquired about joining and are actively considering entry.

"We are thrilled with the wide variety of teams and technologies from around the world that have expressed an interest in joining the competition," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, CEO and Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation. "We are confident that the Automotive X PRIZE will motivate and bring visibility to a range of non-traditional solutions from both traditional and non-traditional players. The time for incremental change is over. We need radical breakthroughs to stem the consumption of fossil fuels. An X PRIZE can help make this happen."

The independent and technology-neutral AXP competition is open to teams from around the world to prove they can design, build and bring to market 100 MPG or equivalent fuel economy vehicles that people want to buy. Industry experts will scrutinize team plans. Those that qualify will race their vehicles in rigorous cross-country stages that combine speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance. The winners will be the vehicles that exceed 100 MPG equivalent, fall under strict emissions caps and finish in the fastest time.

"In just a short time, we have seen a tremendous enthusiasm for the Automotive X PRIZE," said Donald J. Foley, executive director of the AXP. "We believe this enthusiasm reflects the strong interest among the car-driving public for new options of super-efficient vehicles. It is clear energy legislation in Congress will fall far short of encouraging the type of breakthroughs that are needed to provide a new generation of ultra-efficient vehicles. We have designed AXP to be a technology-neutral competition to help provide this new generation of vehicles, and we are pleased that the fairness of our competition guidelines has been ratified by the interest among a wide variety of teams and technologies."


The competition is expected to travel through multiple cities while broadcast to a global audience in 2009 and 2010, building consumer demand for vehicles in the competition and demonstrating many practical, clean and affordable vehicle options. Cities involved in the competition route have not yet been chosen.

Reflecting the nature of the non-partisan effort, two leading members of Congress on energy issues, Senators Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), have expressed their support for the AXP.


The AXP has also received support and encouragement from several 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 (FHA); 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 AXP include the National Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, the Apollo Alliance, the Consumer Federation of America, Global Green USA, CALSTART and Greenpeace among others.


The AXP has recently finalized a supporting sponsorship from Adobe. Other early AXP sponsors and donors include Idealab, Ray Sidney of Big George Ventures, the Elbaz Foundation, and the Jack D. Hidary Foundation.

Once fundraising for the prize purse and administration is complete, the AXP will officially launch. "We are seeking assistance from major foundations, corporations and philanthropic individuals to help bring about this revolution in transportation," Diamandis said. "Visionary individuals and organizations have risen to this type of challenge before by backing the Ansari X PRIZE for personal spaceflight, and the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics. We're confident we can build a financial base for this competition as well, and expect one or more heroes to rise to this challenge."


The following 30 teams have signed a letter of intent signaling their intent to apply for the AXP competition:

* Aptera Motors - California, USA
* Commuter Cars Corp. - Washington, USA
* Cornell University - New York, USA
* DEHyds - Washington, USA
* Delta Motorsport - Northants, UK
* Desert Fuel - Arizona, USA
* Disruptech - California, USA
* Dragonfly Technology LTD - Northhampton, UK
* Fuel Vapor Technologies - British Columbia, Canada
* GreenIt! - Oregon, USA
* Herf Duo - Berlin, Germany
* HyKinesys - California, USA
* Kinetic Vehicles - Oregon, USA
* Kuttner Doran Inventions - Virginia, USA
* Loremo AG - Munich, Germany
* Maine Automotive X - Maine, USA
* MDI, Inc. & Zero Pollution Motors LLC - New York, USA
* Michigan Vision - Michigan, USA
* MotoTron Corporation - Wisconsin, USA
* Phoenix Motorcars - California, USA
* Porteon Electric Vehicles, Inc. - Oregon, USA
* Prometheus Systems, LLC - Arizona, USA
* Psycho-Active - Georgia, USA
* Roane Inventions - Texas, USA
* Society for Sustainable Mobility - California, USA
* Spirit One - Alberta, Canada
* Valentin Technologies - Wisconsin, USA
* Tesla Motors - California, USA
* Velozzi - California, USA
* X Tracer - Winterthur, Switzerland
* ZAP Motors - California, USA



The goal of the Automotive X PRIZE (AXP) is to inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change. The multi-million dollar AXP purse will be awarded to the teams that win a stage race for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 miles per gallon equivalent fuel economy. For more information please visit or email



The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. On October 4, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space twice in two weeks to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since expanded its mission beyond space exploration to offer new prizes for breakthroughs in the life sciences, energy and the environment, education and global entrepreneurship. In October of 2006, the X PRIZE Foundation announced the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for genomics, which will reward the first private effort to map 100 human genomes in 10 days ushering in a new era of personalized preventative medicine. For more information please visit or email

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Give me a Prius and one of those Tornado Air dealies for the intake tube. Contest over, make the check out to Mr. RawToast.