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Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Automotive X Prize - Revolution through Competition

The folks that brought us the X Prize, the $10 million dollar competition for building private space craft, now bring us the Automotive X Prize, a race to build the most practical and most efficient production capable vehicle.

Joel Makower of Two Steps Forward is participating as an adviser to the competition and has a great post on the AXP over at his blog.

The beauty of this X-Prize is that its not just another competition where some MIT rocket scientist can design an ugly, unmarketable, and impractical "concept car" that achieves the 100 MPG floor set by the competition. We've been seeing hyped up concept cars at the auto shows for years. The competitors are judged on vehicle performance but the feasibility of mass production and the marketability of their entry are probably just as important.

The fact that a prize of several million dollars awaits the winner should motivate some of the brightest engineering minds from all over the world to enter the competition. I truly believe this could set the stage for a revolution in the automobile industry. The question is - will it be enough to wake up Detroit? Doubt it.

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