The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE spotlighted a major milestone in its mission to inspire development of the next generation of super fuel efficient cars through a focused competition that pits global automakers, entrepreneurs, and even students in a race to secure a piece of the $10M prize purse and the fame and notoriety that comes with it. The event was, of course, the long-awaited announcement of the results of the summer’s design judging phase of the competition as well as the formal opening of registration for the DASH+ national high school student contest to design a dashboard with eco-feedback features to help drivers operate their cars more efficiently.
The event was hosted at the Classic Car Club situated in the heart of Manhattan and featured Dr. Peter Diamandis, X PRIZE CEO and Chairman; Glenn Renwick, President and CEO of Progressive Insurance; Connie Bezanson, Lead Engineer, Program Planning, U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Vehicle Technologies; and Dale Fulton, Senior Vice President for Curriculum Development at Discovery Education.
Over a year earlier, Dr. Diamandis stood alongside New York’s Mayor Bloomberg to announce the competition and issue the call to would-be competitors. Last June, after a registration period that yielded 136 vehicle entries representing 111 teams, 97 teams made good on the deadline for submitting their technical packages and business plans that would be scrutinized by a panel of automotive industry experts. After a long summer of vetting these submissions, 53 vehicles representing 43 teams, emerged from the design judging phase that concluded earlier this month.
The 43 teams— representing 18 states, 10 countries and 6 fuel types, that have passed the competition’s Design Judging phase and will move into the most exciting phase of the competition – performance and safety testing – putting them one step closer to their share of the $10 million prize purse.
Teams that have passed this most recent phase of judging have proven to the competition’s automotive and technical experts that their vehicles will be at a state of development suitable for formal vehicle challenges next spring. They must also be production capable and can plausibly meet or exceed the minimum competition thresholds of 100 MPGe and 200 g/mile carbon dioxide emissions. There are a total of 53 vehicles moving forward in the competition with 28 represented in the Mainstream Class and 25 in the Alternative Class.
“The teams and vehicles represented in this group are the most viable in our competition and we believe that together they are positioned to make a huge impact on the automotive marketplace,” noted Dr. Diamandis.
"The work that these teams have done is really amazing—congratulations to them all on getting this far," said Progressive’s CEO Glenn Renwick. "Over the next year, we'll see significant advancement of these designs, taking us even closer toward the ultimate goal of making super fuel efficient vehicles a viable choice for consumers."
The competition features teams from around the world that can design, build and bring to market 100 MPG or energy equivalent (MPGe) vehicles that people want to buy and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance. Performance testing will begin in spring 2010 and winners will be announced in September 2010. Exact dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.
A complete list of qualified teams, along with fuel types, photos of their vehicles and team information is now available at www.progressiveautoxprize.org.
Also at Monday’s event, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE formally opened registration for a national high school contest, funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant. The contest, called DASH+, challenges students to work together using creativity, design, and math and science skills to develop new gauges, instruments and interfaces to create the “Dashboard of the Future” which will support behavior change to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Each team will experience a unique, hands-on opportunity as they design their dashboard which will be accompanied by a written technical plan and a design video pitch to convince both auto manufacturers and the general public to adopt and embrace their new concepts, experiences and tools to better understand energy use in vehicles.
DASH+ teams must include two to five U.S. students enrolled in 9th through 12th grade, aged 14 or older, in fall 2009 and have an adult mentor. Registration is now available online at www.FuelOurFutureNow.com/contest.