The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a multimillion dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles (earlier post), has opened a Demonstration Division designed specifically for large, established automobile manufacturers. The new Division was created to address the fact that actual, high-volume production vehicles involve more and substantially harder engineering challenges and tradeoffs than developmental vehicles that are production-capable, the organizers said.
The Demonstration Division, distinct from the existing Competition Division, is intended to showcase high-efficiency vehicles from established automakers that are already selling fully validated, four-wheel vehicles in the US or EU at quantities greater than 10,000 per year, and have been doing so since 2005. Such companies may enter efficient Mainstream Class vehicles that are either in production or committed for production and sale in the US or EU prior to the end of 2012.
There is no prize purse in the Demonstration Division, although participating companies are also welcome to enter the Competition Division. Demonstration Division vehicles must meet the specifications and requirements of the Mainstream Class, except for Miles Per Gallon or Energy Equivalent (MPGe) and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions. Demonstration Division vehicles will participate in the same events as Competition Division vehicles in order to demonstrate their capabilities and performance.
Companies entering the Demonstration Division will receive a variety of special benefits. For example, automotive dealers that represent manufacturers in the Demonstration Division will have options to display and promote currently available high-efficiency vehicles at Progressive Automotive X PRIZE events. Promotional and educational materials about the competition and the Demonstration Division will stress the rigorous engineering requirements of production vehicles. Among other things, this will explain why their fuel-economy performance may be less than that of developmental vehicles that are production-capable but have not been engineered and optimized for large-scale production.
We believe that this new Division provides an ideal platform for major automakers in the US and EU to promote their latest fuel-efficient vehicles and we hope this announcement sparks new entries into the competition.
We hope automakers will take another look at our mission and see just how closely it aligns with their goals of bringing new, affordable and fuel-efficient technology to drivers everywhere. The auto industry is changing rapidly, and the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE plans to offer an unprecedented showcase of what the future can hold.—Peter Diamandis, President and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation