Update from the Automotive X Prize team

The X Prize group has yet to finalize their rules and prize for the upcoming Auto X Prize event. While we wait (and we are waiting, because there was the suggestion earlier this year that the rules would be out at the end of 2006, but all we know now is that the groups has "made a lot of progress on the rules for the prize as we reach a pivotal stage of our planning process." The rules will now be released in early 2007), the Auto X Prize team sent out an email update about where things stand earlier today.

The email says that the the goal of the Auto X Prize is still to award a "large cash purse" to the automotive engineering team that can build a "clean, super-efficient, production-capable vehicle." There will be an endurance race with the vehicles that pass the first round of hurdles and "the qualified City and Highway vehicles with the best overall race time will split the prize purse."

You can read the entire message – including information on fundraising, possible entrants, and news of the prize's endorsement by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – after the jump. And, in case you missed it, check out AutoblogGreen's interview with Mark Goodstein of the Auto X Prize Team.

[Source: The Automotive X PRIZE Team]
We hope this update finds you well. Some of you we speak to almost daily, but for others it has been far too long since we updated you on the progress and status of the Automotive X PRIZE (AXP). Highlights are included below...

We have made a lot of progress on the rules for the prize as we reach a pivotal stage of our planning process. The current prize concept is as follows (still subject to change):

The goal of the Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change. The Automotive X PRIZE will award a large cash purse to the teams that win an endurance race for clean, super-efficient, production-capable vehicles.

Ambitious teams will work to solve a difficult challenge: design and build production-capable, desirable, super-efficient, clean vehicles. Those vehicles will undergo a rigorous admissions process that will review manufacturability, safety and business plans to make an assessment of marketability. The AXP will hold a real-world endurance race as test of X PRIZE-level achievement that will be technology- and fuel- neutral, with city, mountain, distance segments, etc. Vehicles will have to meet strict requirements for fuel efficiency, emissions and performance during that race to qualify for the prize. The qualified City and Highway vehicles with the best overall race time will split the prize purse.

We plan to release the proposed rules of the Automotive X PRIZE to the public for an open comment period in early 2007. The prize will not be publicly launched until the prize purse and operations are fully funded.
To that end, our top priority is currently fundraising, and our initial sponsorship meetings have been positive and promising. We welcome ideas, suggestions and contacts to further our fundraising outreach.

Literally hundreds of potential teams have reached out to us, ranging from individuals with an idea to large automobile manufacturers. Those inquiries represent an exciting level of interest given that the competition has not yet been officially been announced. Some groups have even mentioned the AXP in their mission statements, including: http://www.vehicledesignsummit.org/ http://www.newtriumph.co.uk/about.htm http://www.efficientsys.com/ http://www.fuelvaporcar.com/html/the_car.html

The AXP has assembled a world-class board of Prize Development Advisors. That board consists of top-tier representatives from industry, manufacturing, environmental, design, education, science, PR, media, government, and regulatory backgrounds. You can see the full list of advisors and their bios here: http://auto.xprize.org/about/advisors.html

We are excited to announce that the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has endorsed the Automotive X PRIZE. Frances Beinecke, President of the NRDC, issued the following endorsement:
"NRDC believes that in order to solve global warming and cut our oil dependency, the auto industry must rapidly adopt the next generation of vehicle technologies - advance power trains, lightweight materials, and renewable fuels. NRDC supports the Automotive X PRIZE as an innovative method to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of America's technological prowess, and accelerate the introduction of climate-friendly cars. The real winners of the Automotive X PRIZE will be the health of our planet and of our children."
We expect to announce additional endorsements soon!

Mark Goodstein will join a list of notable speakers at the Art Center Summit on Designing Sustainable Mobility. The Summit will take place in Pasadena on February 7-8, 2007, and will be a "pivotal exchange of ideas and information leading to new and sustainable methods of moving about the planet." We encourage you to join the conversation at the Summit and hear our own Mark Goodstein speak along with Dean Kamen, Paul MacCready, David Goodstein, Dan Sturges, John Boesel, Christopher Bangle, Budd Steinhilber, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. More details can be found here: http://www.artcenter.edu/summit/

In closing, we would love to hear from you...questions, ideas and feedback welcomed. We will keep you posted as we move forward.

The Automotive X PRIZE Team (Mark, Neal, John, and Cristin)

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