Things are beginning to heat up in the race for the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE, as the kick-off date for the actual on-the-road events approaches. The fun will begin April 26th in Michigan, continue through August, and culminate in a September awards presentation in Washington, DC. A number of the contenders were on hand at the Detroit Auto Show this week, where the official announcement was made.

The goal of the Automotive X PRIZE is to “inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices.” There is a total of $US10,000,000 in prize money available, but in order to win any of it, all vehicles must be clean-running and exceed 100mpg or energy equivalent. A staged series of events will take place throughout Michigan, to assess the real-world performance, efficiency and safety of each car. According to its website, the Automotive X PRIZE “is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers will want to buy, not science projects or concept cars.”

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With the design judging phase of the competition already over, there are now 51 vehicles from 41 teams competing. As the kick-off date approaches, Gizmag will be taking a closer look at some of the leading contenders.

This is not the first time most people have heard of the nonprofit X PRIZE Foundation. In 2004 it ran the Ansari X PRIZE for spacecraft, followed by the Archon X PRIZE for genomics, and the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Upcoming competitions will focus on space and ocean exploration, life sciences, energy and the environment, and education and global development.

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