The picture above was taken today at the Automotive X-Prize event at the Michigan International Speedway, and it shows – in the simplest way possible – the goal of the competition: a car that gets more than 100 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge). The X-Prize was supposed to bring us the best, most efficient vehicle possible and award the winning team millions of dollars for developing it. While there's no question that the X-Prize has done a lot to further green car technologies, there's a good chance no one will actually win the mainstream class.

Given that only one team remains to potentially win the mainstream class, we wondered if the X-Prize team has been thinking about what happens if Edison2's Very Light Vehicles fail to reach the required benchmarks on the track this week and then in the Argonne National Lab next month. Eric Cahill, the X-Prize's senior director, told AutoblogGreen that it's too early in the conversations to make any announcement, but that they are at least thinking about running another Automotive X-Prize.

If a second Automotive X-Prize were to take place in a few years, what would be different? The small number of battery-powered vehicles remaining in the Finals Stage show that it's hard to make a car that meets the qualifications today, but this could change drastically in the near future. Would the 100 mpge number need to be bumped up? Would the total range – currently set at 200 miles for a mainstream car – be changed?

Cahill, who used to drive a BMW Z3 with what he considered to be a short 300-mile range, knows that this is an important factor for people. When the X-Prize's targets were developed, 200 miles was the absolute minimum for a conventional car. Cahill said:
100 mpge to people is like, ╩╗whoa.' But the average range for conventional vehicles, for example, is around 300 miles, so we're still far from that. If there was to be another X-Prize, maybe we'd look at that. I'm just speculating, but I wouldn't necessarily see the 100 mpge part having to move much, but maybe we'd push that range target from 200 to something more, or maybe change the 0-60 times, or something else.
To be clear, the current Automotive X-Prize isn't over yet, and we might still have a mainstream winner. Whether we do or don't it's certainly worth thinking about what would happen if the X-Prize Foundation decides this is a challenge worth repeating. Looks like we're not alone thinking this.

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