Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Concludes First of Three On-Track Competition Stages at Michigan International Speedway
Announces Teams Qualified to Move on to Scored Knockout Stage
Twenty-two teams Representing 27 Vehicles Continue to the Pivotal, Scored Knockout Stage June 20-30
in Pursuit of the Multimillion Dollar Cash Prize for Super Fuel-Efficient Cars
PLAYA VISTA, CALIF. (May 13, 2010) -- Today, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a $10 million competition to inspire a new generation of viable super-efficient vehicles capable of achieving 100 MPGe (miles per gallon or its energy equivalent), announced 22 teams representing 27 vehicles survived Shakedown – the first of three on-track testing stages – and will now move on to the Knockout Qualifying Stage to be held June 20-30 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, Mich.
Twenty-eight teams, representing 36 vehicles from across the globe were invited to MIS to officially start on-track performance testing as part of the Shakedown competition stage on April 26. Of the 28 teams that were invited, 24 participated in the Shakedown Stage.
Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE competitor vehicles were put to the test during a variety of efficiency, safety, and performance evaluations conducted by competition judges, including automotive engineers from Consumer Reports. Tests included rigorous technical inspections and on-track safety tests, including zero-to-sixty acceleration and braking tests, an emergency double lane change avoidance maneuver, and durability requirements. Of the 24 participants, 22 will return for the pivotal Knockout Stage, the second of three on-track stages and the first scored competition stage. Teams must demonstrate that their vehicles can meet or beat a 67 MPGe fuel efficiency target – two-thirds of the final MPGe requirement – to qualify for the Finals Stage where they will compete to win a portion of the $10 million prize purse.
“These Shakedown tests rightly set a very high standard of safety and performance,” said Eric Cahill, Senior Director, Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. “This was not meant to be easy; if it were, it would have already been done. We expect to see additional eliminations during the Knockout Stage as we narrow the field in preparation for the Finals Stage in late July.”
Established automakers, start-ups, universities, inventors, and even a high school are among the diverse groups of teams that will enter the Knockout Stage, the gateway to the grand prize. The following is a complete list of the 22 teams, along with the class in which they will compete and their fuel type.
Mainstream Class Teams:
Mainstream Class vehicles must carry four or more passengers, have four or more wheels, and offer a 200-mile range.
American HyPower, Centennial, Colorado (Gasoline, Hydrogen)
BITW Technologies, Palmyra, Indiana (Biodiesel)
Cornell 100+ MPG Team, Ithaca, New York (Biodiesel)*
Edison2, Charlottesville, Virginia (E85)
Enginer, Troy, Michigan (Gasoline + Steam)**
Global-E, Mandeville, Louisiana (Gasoline & Electric)**
Illuminati Motor Works, Virden, Illinois (Electric)*
Liberty Motors Group, Botkins, Ohio (Gasoline)
West Philly Hybrid X (EVX), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Gasoline)
Alternative Class Teams:
Alternative Class vehicles must carry two or more passengers and allow for a 100 mile range.
amp, Blue Ash, Ohio (Electric)
Aptera Motors, Vista, California (Electric)
Tata Motors Limited, Coventry, United Kingdom (Electric)
Edison2, Charlottesville, Virginia (E85)
Li-Ion Motors, Mooresville, North Carolina (Electric)*
OptaMotive, San Jose, California (Electric)
RaceAbout Association, Helsinki, Finland (Electric)
Team EVX, Dallas, Texas (Electric)
West Philly Hybrid X (EVX), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Biodiesel)
Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington (Gasoline)**
ZAP, Santa Rosa, California (Electric)
Edison2, Charlottesville, Virginia (E85)
FVT Racing, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada (Gasoline)*
Spira, Banglamung, Chonburi, Thailand (Gasoline)
Tango (Commuter Cars), Spokane, Washington (Electric)
X-Tracer Team Switzerland, Uster, Switzerland (Electric)
NOTE: Teams marked with a single asterisk (*) received a “conditional” pass during the Shakedown Stage. This means the team’s vehicle passed technical inspection but did not successfully complete at least one on-track safety test or did not complete all mandatory events. These vehicles will only be allowed to enter the Knockout Stage if they successfully pass Technical Inspection and complete durability requirements.
Teams marked with a double asterisk (**) received a “probationary” pass, which indicates their vehicle did not successfully complete at least one component of technical inspection and thus were not allowed to continue to on-track safety tests during the Shakedown Stage and hence faced elimination. These teams demonstrated running vehicles that met the established guidelines of the competition. The vehicles will be re-inspected and must complete the mandatory portion of the on-track safety events before being allowed to continue in the competition.
Two teams – TW4XP (Germany) and K-Way MOTUS (Italy) – will complete the Shakedown Stage June 16-18, as both teams were unable to participate in the regularly scheduled events due to travel restrictions in Europe resulting from the Iceland volcano eruption. Both teams will be required to pass the technical inspection and mandatory driving events before moving on to the Knockout Stage.
A competition kick-off press conference and lunch reception was also hosted during the Shakedown Stage in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Michigan officials, notable leaders from the auto industry, business, and government, and members of the press and public were in attendance. Guest speakers included: Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO, The X PRIZE Foundation, Greg Main, President and CEO, MEDC, Roger Curtis, President, Michigan International Speedway, Connie Bezanson, Technology Manager, Office of Vehicle Technologies, US Department of Energy, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.
“We are grateful to have the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan International Speedway, the Governor’s office, as well as our title sponsor Progressive Insurance, The U.S. Department of Energy, and Cisco,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. “It’s these organizations that are making it possible for us to bring forward a new generation of super fuel-efficient vehicles that will help stem the effects of climate change, reduce our dependence on oil, and provide consumers with more choices of safe, high performing, and efficient vehicles.”
The Knockout Qualifying Stage is the next and second phase of the competition. During this stage, competition vehicles must pass a repeat of technical inspections and on-track safety tests. Vehicles must also complete emissions, efficiency, and range events in which vehicles must achieve at least two-thirds the minimum fuel economy and range requirements to qualify for the Finals Stage. For fuel economy, this translates to at least 67 MPGe, or two-thirds the 100 MPGe target for both vehicle classes. For emissions, vehicles must prove they can meet minimum US EPA emissions limits in on-track challenges. For range, a minimum of 134 miles for Mainstream class entries (200 miles range required at the Finals Stage) and 67 miles for the Alternative class (100 miles range required at the Finals Stage).
Teams that fail to meet these thresholds will be eliminated from the competition; those that meet or beat these goals return for the Finals Stage July 19-30. To best represent real world conditions, the length of the on-road efficiency and range events in the Finals Stage will reflect the statistical distribution of average trip lengths as reported by the 2008 National Household Transportation Survey. Validation tests at Argonne National Lab provides the other piece of efficiency data that will be weighted fifty-fifty with on-road results to confirm vehicles achieve the one hundred MPGe threshold to qualify for the Grand Prize.
The car in each class that exceeds 100 MPGe, meets the emissions and performance requirements, and completes the on-road challenges with the fastest time wins. The ten million dollar prize purse will be presented at an Award Ceremony in September.
Along the way, the public is invited to view the vehicles and meet competing teams during public days scheduled for June 25 and July 23, 2010 as well as during the Great Lakes Wine Festival the weekend of June 26 at Michigan International Speedway. Information regarding the public days is available online at www.progressiveautoxprize.org. The public can also follow the progress of competing teams online where interactive updates, photos, and videos from the track will be available throughout the competition. Several media days are also scheduled.
ABOUT THE PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE AUTOMOTIVE X PRIZE
The goal of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage competition for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 Miles per gallon or energy equivalent (MPGe). The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on efficiency, safety, affordability, and the environment. It is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers will want to buy, not science projects or concept cars. This progress is needed because today's oil consumption is unsustainable and because automotive emissions significantly contribute to global warming and climate change. The ten million dollar purse and partial funding for prize operations was provided by Progressive Insurance. Additional major funding for education, outreach, and technical operations was provided by $9 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional funding for prize operations was provided by Cisco and private donors. For more information about the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, please visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org or email [email protected].
Progressive, founded in 1937, is one of the country’s largest auto insurance groups and a leading insurer of motorcycles, recreation vehicles, boats, and commercial vehicles. The Company offers competitive rates and innovative products and services that meet drivers’ needs throughout their lifetimes as well as 24/7 online and in-person customer and claims service. One of Progressive’s Core Values is Excellence. To the Company’s nearly 25,000 people, it simply means seeking constant improvement. Over time, this has meant introducing revolutionary ideas that make car insurance easier to shop for, buy and use. It’s this same innovative spirit that’s behind the Company’s sponsorship of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will inspire innovation that will produce more fuel efficient vehicle choices, helping to make a difference in people’s lives. Progressive’s products and services are available locally through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies in the U.S., online at http://www.progressive.com, and by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737).
ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION
The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating and conducting competitions in four prize groups: Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, and Education & Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leader in fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.