• Sep 28th 2008 at 8:37AM
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Following Friday's report of the agreement between GM and CARB on the status of the Volt, the Automotive X Prize took stock of the deal and issued its statement on the possibility of a 100-MPG rating for the highly-anticipated car. While praising what GM is doing with the Volt, the X Prize also recommended that the EPA, "consider adopting MPGe as a unit of measure that would more accurately reflect fuel consumption of alternative energy vehicles, and we welcome further discussions with them on this topic." We all know that one of the X Prize's big challenges is how to rate the many different fuel/energy types in the cars that will compete in the $10 million contest, and AXP executive director Don Foley said in a statement that, "Reliance on an MPG standard alone will soon be outdated and will not accurately reflect the need for higher fuel efficiency." More details after the break.
[Source: X Prize]


Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Commends GM on Progress With Chevy Volt; Recommends More Accurate Standard of Measure for Alternative Energy Vehicles

SANTA MONICA, CA--(Marketwire - September 26, 2008) - Today, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE released a statement in response to the proposed 100MPG rating for the Chevy Volt:

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE -- a multimillion dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles -- commends GM for its work in significantly improving fuel economy with the recent unveiling of its Chevy Volt, and we are pleased to see so many other auto manufacturers planning to introduce their own fuel efficient options into the market in the near future.

"With an increased focus on fuel economy and environmental impact, the U.S. consumer is now looking to a high fuel economy standard, and we believe it is an achievable goal in the near term," noted Don Foley, Executive Director of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. "Reliance on an MPG standard alone will soon be outdated and will not accurately reflect the need for higher fuel efficiency."

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is a way for all vehicle makers to compete in real world driving conditions, and with our proposed unit of measure, MPGe -- miles per gallon or energy equivalent -- we believe we've found a way to test alternative fuels on a level playing field. Miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) is a measure that expresses fuel economy in terms of the energy content of a gallon of petroleum-based gasoline. Basically we ask: how much energy was delivered to the vehicle, and how far did it go? We convert the energy to the number of gallons of gasoline containing equivalent energy, and we express the result as miles per gallon. Our goal goes beyond conserving gasoline, but also conserving energy of all types.

We're pleased that the EPA is looking at how best to gauge the fuel economy of cars like the Volt and recommend that they consider adopting MPGe as a unit of measure that would more accurately reflect fuel consumption of alternative energy vehicles, and we welcome further discussions with them on this topic, just as we invite all automakers' participation in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE.


The goal of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage race for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on efficiency, safety, affordability, and the environment. It is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers will want to buy, not science projects or concept cars. This progress is needed because today's oil consumption is unsustainable and because automotive emissions significantly contribute to global warming and climate change.


The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured the world's attention when the Burt Rutan-led team, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private spaceship to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation, and its partner BT Global Services, are creating prizes in Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.


Progressive, founded in 1937, is a leading insurer of cars, motorcycles, recreation vehicles, boats and commercial vehicles. The Company offers competitive rates and innovative products and services that meet drivers' needs throughout their lifetimes as well as 24/7 online and in-person customer and claims service. One of Progressive's Core Values is Excellence. To the Company's more than 27,000 people, it simply means seeking constant improvement. Over time, this has meant introducing revolutionary ideas that make car insurance easier to shop for, buy and use. It's this same innovative spirit that's behind the Company's sponsorship of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will inspire innovation that will produce more fuel efficient vehicle choices, helping to make a difference in people's lives. Progressive's products and services are available locally through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies in the U.S., online at www.progressive.com and by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737).

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      MPG is a bullshit measurement even for regular ICE. The difference 45/50mpg is not comparable to the difference between 25/30mpg.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I personally support the idea that the electric serial engine run the EPA test with a zero battery charge, so that the combustion engine will be running for the entirety of the test. This way, I know the "worst case" scenario, when I'm on the interstate driving all day for holiday or what not, I know what I'll be getting.

      GM/Chevy can advertise on their own, "the car runs on electricity only for the first 40 miles if you plug it in to charge it overnight for like twenty cents for a full charge, and a range extending gas generator provides you with 35 mpg after that." or what not.
      That seems the most fair and reasonable. Don't rely on the government to do your advertising for you... of course, those socialist in the GM board-room rely on the government to do everything for them, don't they, so that was a stupid thing for me to say.
        • 7 Years Ago
        They've probably already decided that he future of the Volt depends on it being rated at 100mpg to make it "twice as good as a Prius". I'm sure they'll stop at nothing to make that happen.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Tankdog: The GM ad campaign for the Volt has been emphasizing the "40 miles without burning a drop of gas" aspect, as that is easily understood and not misleading.

        I'd agree that claiming "100 mpg" could be misleading, especially since that only applies to a specific driving range.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Strong serial hybrid architectures such as that typified by the Volt are going to be extremely difficult to precisely quantify in fuel efficiency terms. Whatever test regime the DOT comes up with the numbers will only reflect that presumably repeatable regime so fuel mileage figures in any real world situation may be off by large percentages in either direction. This conundrum may not be solvable. I think that whatever the govt. ratings are the onus will really be on the automotive press to put vehicles through their paces in an extended fashion and report their results. Even there one can expect significant differences in results from organs as diverse in outlook as Car & Driver, Consumer Reports, and, well, ABG. This is already mirrored by varying results when comparing conventional vehicles but strong hybrids and pure EVs will make the situation worse. The consumer will have to compare results from a number of different test reports to get some sort of "realistic" figure. Any resulting average may have little resemblance to any govt. figure so, in short, good bloody luck to us all in trying to make meaningful comparisons.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The electricity that comes from the outlet may be cheaper than gas but it is not free as far as natural resources used to create it and as far as pollution created in the making is concerned. The x prize people are right with their energy content equivalency standard. only a fair accounting will get us truth in engineering and marketing. With a 1000 pound battery pack the chevy volt will be less efficient than a standard 40 mpg chevy economy car. I wish the volt was a magic bullet but unfortunately if you understand physics you soon realize it is another series of smoke and mirrors though an improvement on previous cases. If you start to count the energy cost in the making (and disposing) of the batteries and the fact that with a battery pack replacement cost of ca$10,000.-- this car is doomed to an artificially short lifecycle we are not ahead. It is an unfortunate reality that truly efficient cars are lighter and more aerodynamic than those made by today's large automakers. If you want to buy indulgences the way sinners did in the middle ages then the chevy volt and prius are for you (and they are better than most normal ware. However if you want true change we got a long way to go and we have to start by understanding the difference between smoke and mirrors and real efficiency. I bet the Chevy volt is less of a MPG car than the prius and in lifecycle both are less of a car than the VW jetta diesel.
      Sorry remember physics. It takes a certain amount of energy to move a given mass in a certain way. there is no way around this on earth.
      Oliver Kuttner
      • 7 Years Ago
      I know it would be nice to have one number/measure for measuring efficiency. But doing so now is completely misleading and even deceptive. The Volt does not get 100mpg and letting them, or anyone else, advertise that way is false advertising

      The best way to do this would seem to be two measures:
      All Electric Range: 40miles
      Extended distance rating: 50mpg

      Why is this so bad?

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