• Sep 21st 2010 at 5:58PM
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The 2010 Automotive X-Prize is officially in the books. The grueling competition ripped apart some vehicles and tested the resolve of many teams. In the end, three teams walked away with victory – leaving well over 100 behind in defeat. But like we noted before, this year's losers, though fielding vehicles that weren't capable enough to capture a portion of the prize purse, still competed valiantly and deserve recognition.

While many have suggested that the X-Prize competition was a bust, or at least anticlimactic, we'd argue that the competition wasn't really about which team walked away with the cash and who went home empty-handed. Instead, the event was intended to showcase technology that could one day ween us off of foreign oil. And nobody bangs the importance of that quite like Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Markey offered up this somewhat overstated remark at the X-Prize awards ceremony:
Every one dollar increase in the price of oil provides an additional $1.5 billion to Iran each year. Our oil addiction is supporting rogue nuclear regimes. It is helping funnel resources to terrorists. Our dependence on foreign oil distorts our foreign policy, it skews our economic policy, it damages our environment. Importing oil is 50 percent of the trade deficit of the United States of America. That's why this contest, this X Prize, is the most important thing that is happening in our country and in the world.
Emphasis added, because we didn't want you to miss it.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      scary but not unexpected lack of technical competence exhibited by the congressman.
      the automotive x prize was alas unimpressive and entirely useless.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The (automotive) X-Prize was a joke. It was completely pointless.

      The big (and many small) automakers are already working on fuel efficient & electric cars.

      All the vehicles that entered it looked like crap.

      In the next few years, electric cars will finally be mainstream. and this x-prize wont have anything to do with it.

      I agree with the congressmen that foreign oil is bad...but I don't buy his numbers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't sweat it Murc. Even if you're wrong on a point here and there, Satn will make all the ad hominem attacks on you personally that (s)he can to inflate his/her tiny ego.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Such competitions are not just about this round.
        I assume there will be further competitions going forward.

        Look at the competitions for producing autonomous vehicles.
        The first year everything was crap.
        Only a few years later and look at what the entrants can do.

        You don't start at the finish line.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Mike - When I hear "X-Prize" I think about an awesome goal that has yet to be achieved. And great names come to mind, like Charles Lindbergh & Burt Rutan.

        Fuel efficient vehicles has existed for a while now, as have electric vehicles. Also, All the big auto-manufacturers have been working on hybrids for a while now, and now you can even buy an electric car today (if you have the money).

        Also...I think we can agree, that DARPA is in a league of their own.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Iran produces 1.46 billion barrels of oil a year sooo... you're dumb and make uneducated judgements from ignorance.

        that also covers there rest of your post whining about the cars.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Where is the other half of my R8!??!?
      • 5 Years Ago
      It seemed pretty pointless to me.

      What would be helpful is an oil tax.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So then poor Americans and those in rural areas can be hurt even more? Or small business can be buried? Listen to Markey, if you want to espouse a need for greater efficiency focus on national security instead of bad economic policy that is already strangling the nation.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The X-prizes are about the most important things in the world. They create more innovation than just about anything.

      But ye mighty internet bloggers procliam that it isnt so!
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The X-prizes are about the most important things in the world. They create more innovation than just about anything."

        You're joking right? If not please enlighten us to all the "innovations" that have come about due to the X-prizes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Markey's motivation is right. After all, how can you care about anything else when your own money is funding maniacs who are making war on you and trying to kill you and your family?

      But his solution is flawed. Fuel demand rises faster than even the most dramatic fuel economy improvements. The solution, then, is not fuel efficiency in gasoline cars, but alternative fuel (alcohol), and/or alternative motive power (EVs).
      • 5 Years Ago
      X-prize is nice model of car.This prize was intended to inspire research and development into technology for space exploration. It is the first inspire a new generation of super-efficient vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It just reflects this mindset that we can't do anything effective as a society about energy. It's pathetic.

      Actually, if you want to watch something good, check out Clinton on Letterman last night. Really very good:


      • 5 Years Ago
      The competition was a joke and the entrants were far form production intent. The event will likely have no impact on the technology, nothing new there and entrants like Aptera who were doing this far before were able to demonstrate how a great product can be destroyed by a bunch of Detroit fraternity clowns, they looked like complete fools in many events. This could have been a good event had it been done properly. A kit car and conversion parts could have done better than most of these and some of the failures were pathetic based on the reasons. I agree, total joke and I'm a complete EV nut.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Even if we don't get an oil tax, just end the government subsidies on oil and let the price reflect the real cost.
      • 5 Years Ago
      a little hyperbole sure - but in the context of not just the event but what it is about - as far as the west is concerned - he ain't really too wrong.

      It's not just about cars though, across the board - reducing energy consumption, switching to less polluting renewable sources, and becoming independent of foreign energy supplies are probably the most important thing we could do.
      Second would probably be increasing education.
      Third would be stimulating manufacturing to happen within our own country.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think this year's X-Prize competition worked to debunk many non-viable approaches that were fronted by those who are more con artist than visionary. Now that we see the types of configurations that best succeed in this competition, hopefully new entrants will emerge following those examples, while delivering better performance / utility. Perhaps the X-Prize people should raise the bar, demanding more practicality / utility in some manner. So far, more innovation has come from the TTXGP and the auto industry itself, which says alot about those enterprises, not disparaging the X-Prize.
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