The Automotive X Prize will not feature an updated diesel-burning version of the Avion prototype from 1984 . Craig Henderson, the president of Avion Car Company, has sent a withdrawal letter to the AXP claiming that the costs of participating are too exorbitant for a small company like his. Henderson told AutoblogGreen that it wasn't easy to drop out of the AXP, considering that he's been working on high-efficiency vehicles for 25 years, even getting a Guiness record in 1986 for having the first 100+ mpg automobile:
Henderson says the costs he doesn't have the money for include the need to buy $4 million worth of liability insurance and paying for all the accommodations and meals in the upcoming on-road portion of the contest.It was a difficult decision to not sign the Master Team Agreement, a 64-page legal document for the X Prize, but the requirements for the contest and the cost of competing have gotten too rich for a work a day guy like me. I estimated it would cost around 25K to compete in the X Prize and the way the rules are (favoring battery cars) their was little point to continue.
The AXP organizers will tell you that their MPGe method to compare various energy types doesn't favor one or the other, but apparently Henderson sees it differently. He will still be working on the new Avion that he hopes will beat his 113 mpg record set on a 263-mile trip in Washington State in 2008. Now that the Auto X Prize is out of the picture, Henderson promises, "The new Avion will be setting new records for REAL MPG spring of 2010" and the car will "be built on a custom limited production basis soon there after we break our old record." You can read Henderson's letter to the AXP after the jump.
[Source: Avion Car Company]
LETTER FROM AVION:
August 28, 2009
Progressive Automotive X Prize
5510 Lincoln Blvd., Suite 100
Playa Vista, CA 90094-2034
Dear Directors and staff,
On behalf of the Avion Car Company and all of its supporters, I regret to announce that we can no longer meet the increasing financial requirements of participating in the Progressive Insurance Automobile X Prize.
Despite the fact that our car was the first automobile documented at over 100 mpg by the Guiness Book of World Records in 1986 and the fact that we have most recently achieved 113 mpg, we cannot afford to play in an increasing expensive competition.
We were discouraged when the original X Prize rules were written with a limited 100 miles driving range, favoring (from our perspective) the shorter-range battery cars. Even so, Wired magazine considered the Avion among the top half-dozen entries and called our 25-year-old, internal-combustion-powered, aerodynamic design a dark horse to win.
But, to be honest, it has come down to finances.
The unexpected need to purchase $4 million in liability insurance coverage and to commit to paying for overnight accommodations and meals in an as-yet-undetermined number of cities along the contest route has pushed expenses beyond our means.
Therefore, sadly but respectfully, we are withdrawing our entry and request the return of our $5,000 deposit.
We will still be pursuing the development and production of the Avion. The X Prize has in many ways helped us move our project closer to that goal. So look for the Avion to set new fuel-economy records in the spring of 2010!
Avion Car Company