Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a resolution congratulating the X Prize Foundation’s leadership in inspiring a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles.

The foundation is organizing the Automotive X Prize, a competition that will award a multimillion-dollar purse to teams that can design, build, and demonstrate production-capable vehicles that achieve 100 mpg (2.4 L/100 km) or its energy equivalent (MPGe).

To date, more than 50 teams from seven countries have signed letters of intent to compete.

The foundation will announce the value of the multimillion-dollar prize purse at the New York auto show March 20.

Congressman Daniel E. Lungren (R-CA) led the passage of the resolution that says in part, “The U.S. is heavily dependent on foreign sources of oil that are concentrated in tumultuous countries and regions, and the national security and economic prosperity of the U.S. demands we move toward a sustainable energy future.”

The resolution notes the ability of foreign governments to assert great control over oil production allows unfriendly regimes to use energy exports as leverage against the U.S. and its allies.

Automotive X Prize Executive Director Don Foley says passage of the resolution is a clear signal the House of Representatives understands the problems the U.S. faces.

“Only a high-profile competition such as the Automotive X Prize can bring these forces to bear on the problems of energy security and climate change,” he says.

The competition is open to auto makers and innovators who believe the goal of a 100-mpg vehicle not only is possible but also essential if the U.S. is to break its addiction to oil.

“Competition for a prestigious prize is far more likely to get results than government programs aimed at anticipating and funding winners,” Lungren says in a statement.

“Although occasionally effective, federal subsidies are paid before an industry proves it can achieve what it set out to do, and all too often such subsidies are given to the politically influential, not the meritorious. But prize money is paid out only when the goal is achieved.”

The foundation is getting support from a diverse group of politicians and government agencies, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA); Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI); Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN); Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Senator George Voinovich (R-OH); San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Houston Mayor Bill White; the U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Andy Karsner; the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.