DOE Joins In Funding Automotive X PRIZE

The X PRIZE Foundation, a world leader in conducting incentivized competitions to stimulate innovation, will receive up to $5.5 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

With this latest award, the DOE joins the X PRIZE Foundation and competition Title Sponsor Progressive Insurance in a unique public-private partnership to spur the development of super fuel efficient and clean vehicles. The DOE funding will provide for technical expertise that ensures each vehicle design is reviewed correctly and consistently. Funding will also support expanded outreach and education efforts that will focus on promoting public awareness of the science and engineering behind energy efficient vehicle designs. It also supports President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation, which calls on federal agencies to increase their use of prizes as a tool for promoting technological advances.

“Our clean energy future depends on our ability to design and commercialize new highly-efficient vehicles that are cost-effective for consumers and use significantly less energy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This funding will support cutting-edge, American innovation that can help us fundamentally transform personal transportation and address the global climate crisis.”

The DOE supported the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE from the outset with a $3.5 million award to fund a two-year national education program that engages students and the public in learning about advanced vehicle technologies, energy efficiency, climate change, alternative fuels and the science, technology, engineering and math behind efficient vehicle development.

“The U.S. Department of Energy has a rich history of research and development in energy efficiency and vehicle technologies, and a commitment to educating consumers and the public,” noted Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. “Their strong and continued commitment to the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will give us the ability to reach audiences across consumer and government sectors, and drive change in the future of the auto industry.”

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is aligned with the mission of the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program, which regularly works with academia, the private sector, and non-profit organizations, such as X PRIZE, as part of the Department’s work to develop vehicle technologies and alternative fuels that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and help the U.S. transportation industry remain competitive in the years ahead.

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 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.

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