…and they probably won’t come from the Big Three either.
After working at BMW for two years, I became very appreciative and spoiled with good handling and acceleration. Acceleration and handling don’t just make a car more fun to drive–they can help smart drivers avoid accidents (note the word “smart”). As much as I want an uber fuel efficient car, I cannot justify the extra expense of a Prius or even the upcoming Smart Car given their lack of ability to both accelerate and handle on par with their less fuel efficient counterparts. Think I’m being harsh? Watch how the taller shapes of these vehicles affect how they handle in this Top Gear clip.
Fortunately, the X Prize Foundation is offering 10 million dollars to the winner of the Automotive X Prize. How do you win the Automotive X Prize? Build a 100-mpg machine that wins a race against other green vehicles. According to Eric Hagerman’s article in Wired, the rules, which will be finalized later this year, have three broad components: efficiency (cars must get at least 100 miles per gallon); emissions (cars must produce less than 200 grams of greenhouse gases per mile); and economic viability (mass production of the cars has to be feasible, and the company has to have a plan to make 10,000 a year). It’s this last point — that a winning vehicle has to be safe, comfortable, and ready to be mass-manufactured at a reasonable cost — that will separate the fantasy-mobiles from those that could actually be put into production and sold for a profit.
Do you have what it takes to create a car that solves America’s addiction to oil? Are you not that cool, but just want to know more? Read more about this contest by visiting the X Prize Site.