• Sep 30, 2008
Click above to view high-res gallery of the 2011 Chevy Volt

Now that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has an agreement with General Motors regarding how to measure the fuel mileage of the 2011 Chevy Volt, our attention turns to the EPA, which now has to decide what official mileage rating will appear on the new car's window sticker and how to determine what that number will be. The first recommendation comes from the Automotive X-Prize, the foundation of which will award $10 million from Progressive Insurance to the winner of its competition to design a production-viable car that people would want to drive that gets 100 MPGe or more.

What's with that little 'e' after the familiar miles per gallon? Basically, the X-Prize crew wants to convert all units of energy to a figure that's equivalent to the power from a gallon of gas. That way, a car's powerplant – regardless of where it gets that energy from – earns a rating that can be easily compared with everything else. So, EPA, the ball's in your court... still.

Psst - GM, maybe you should enter the Volt in the X-Prize competition. Just a thought.


[Source: Automotive X-Prize via AutoblogGreen]

PRESS RELEASE:

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 "Reliance on an MPG standard alone will soon be outdated and will not accurately reflect the need for higher fuel efficiency."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.

ABOUT 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.

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION

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.

ABOUT PROGRESSIVE

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
  • 12 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Since the VOLT is already in limited production, GM should enter it into the X Price. What better way to demonstrate to America that VOLT is better choice than the crappy jap prius.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Between the upcoming tax incentive and mileage discrepencies between the Volt and Prius, its really going to send the message home that parallel hybrids aren't a very good deal. If people see 100mpg in any form on a window sticker, they will drop the Prius like a bad habit. If Toyota doesn't at least adopt a plug-in setup, they will find themselves dealt out of the game completely.

      The Volt may not be the best car in the world, but give some credit to GM for bringing the first mass-produced series hybrid car to market.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm pro-Volt and vehicles with zero-gas ranges in general. But MPGe will product ridiculously inflated figures that don't mean anything to the average person. No one purchases electricity in gallons of gas equivalent.

      Let's come up with a more useful measurement.
      • 6 Years Ago
      PS -

      For some commuters, it will surely get MORE than 40 miles on battery power.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This wouldn't change the Prius' EPA gas mileage, would it? Since it generates its electrical power from its gasoline stores, I'm thinking this would only change the mileage of electric vehicles... like the Volt.

      Then again, hybrid vehicles that generate electrical power solely from braking and engine power are on their way out, so it's a moot point anyway.

      I wish GM could do the Volt. It would be nice to see an American company do the leading for once. I'm not holding my breath though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @P B: Considering the economy right now, I'm worried GM won't be able to last long enough to finish the job regarding the Volt.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @The Luigiian:

        I really don't think you're too "worried" about GM lasting long enough. After reading some of your past comments it looks like your current and future comments can be summarized as typical Big 3 hater stuff.

        Come on up to Detroit, Auburn Hills, or Dearborn sometime and try to make some of the same "we'd be better off without the Big 3" comments. The health of these companies actually does affect real people.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Because this is a new approach it would be nice to see a global economy rating not just a U.S. economy only rating.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is the "MGEe" in the title a typo?
      • 6 Years Ago
      What about diesels? Diesel fuel has a much higher BTU rating than gasoline, would the MPG rating of these cars change to reflect that? It would be nice to see gas pumps charge by the BTU too; not by the gallon. That way in the winter, when the amount of energy in a specific gallon changes, the price changes as well.