There's been plenty of interest in the Automotive X-Prize since it launched a couple of years back after the success of the original Ansari X-Prize. Dozens of start-ups and independent inventors have signed up to compete. Notable by their absence, though, are major automakers. This is likely due to the fact that they prefer to keep some level of control on the environment where they demonstrate new technologies and prototypes. There is also a more significant issue here, that being the basic premise of the competition. Not only are competitors required to build a vehicle that tops 100 mpge, but they also have to demonstrate that it can be built AND sold profitably in volumes of 10,000 units a year or more. Therein lies the rub. Established automakers understand the difficulty of that latter part far better than aspiring automakers. In recognition of that reality, X-Prize organizers have created a demonstration division that would let automakers enter vehicles that are either in production or coming soon. These vehicles wouldn't be eligible for the $10 million in prizes but it would give people a chance to see them in action. Given the limited budgets available right now and risks involved it seems unlikely that most companies would take up the offer, but we might yet be surprised.

[Source: Detroit News]


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