Vehicle fuel consumption is an increasing problem all over the world. Oil prices are soaring and environmental consequences of unrestricted fuel use are growing.
In spite of all that, the average fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States has stayed at around 20 miles per gallon for several decades, with no seeming radical change in sight. This new competition, the group hopes, will help to increase awareness and perhaps, speed up the process to begin change.
To date, several large automobile manufacturers have expressed interest in the contest, with some seeming to lean on fielding an entry themselves.
There will be two general categories of automobiles that will be accepted into the challenge:
* traditional four-seat, four-wheel vehicles
* nontraditional cars with at least two seats and at least three wheels
Among the guidelines being considered for the vehicles that will qualify include:
* Mileage of at least 100 miles per gallon on gasoline (or its equivalent in power for alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, methane or whatever else the inventors decide to utilize)
* Production-capable beyond the concept stage
* Must provide a viable business plan to produce 10,000 units at a cost comparable to regular vehicles in the present
So far, none of the vehicles presented during auto-shows and concept exhibits have been able to deliver all that. While several cars have already been demonstrated to deliver the mileage required, none of them are commercially viable because of the high costs of production.
The X Prize Foundation is setting its sights to a head-to-head competition among entrants in 2009. They believe the technology is already available and all that is needed is to allocate needed resources into developing them into a concept that is working, viable and capable of mass-production.
With the incentives of a large multi-million dollar prize and the potential publicity such an event can generate, they believe many car makers, big and small, are going to want to stand up and get noticed.