Feds Give Automotive X-Prize A Big Check

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Money just keeps flowing into the automotive sector from the Department of Energy, which is giving the Progressive Automotive X Prize as much as $5.5 million to “inspire a new generation of energy-efficient vehicles.”

Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the money will provide the Automotive X Prize, a $10 million competition to build cars capable of 100 mpg or the equivalent, with technical assistance and help expand national education and outreach efforts. The cash comes out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus package.

“Our clean energy future depends on our ability to design and commercialize new highly efficient vehicles that are cost-effective for consumers and use significantly less energy,” the secretary said. “This funding will support cutting-edge, American innovation that can help us fundamentally transform personal transportation and address the global climate crisis.”

So just what does $5.5 million buy?

According to the X Prize folks, specific tasks included in the award include:

  • Assist in “procuring, installing, and integrating telemetry equipment into Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition vehicles and establish a data transmission network to enable real-time data telemetry.” The high-tech gadgetry will “provide an interactive online experience that allows internet users to follow the competition vehicles as they perform in real-time during the competition series.”
  • Provide qualified vehicles with an array of expert consulting, vehicle safety inspections and fuel economy and emissions vehicle testing appropriate to their design and level of development. The consulting will be provided “by personnel with expertise specific and relevant to their design and will include review and discussion of vehicle limitations and deficiencies as well as prospective corrective actions.”
  • Provide support for additional technical staff to design, implement, and manage the competition events. The Auto X Prize recently announced seven members of the technical team, each of them “experienced automotive experts.”

“The U.S. Department of Energy has a rich history of research and development in energy efficiency and vehicle technologies, and a commitment to educating consumers and the public,” Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, said. “Their strong and continued commitment to the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize will give us the ability to reach audiences across consumer and government sectors, and drive change in the future of the auto industry.”

Forty-three teams have qualified for the competition, which requires entrants to build a car that can deliver 100 mpg (or the equivalent) and can be mass-produced.

Photo of Future Vehicle Technologies‘ entry in the Automotive X Prize, the eVaro: Progressive Automotive X Prize

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