Making headlines earlier this year for its creation of the world’s cheapest new car, Tata Motors from India is the latest car maker to join the race for the multimillion dollar automotive X PRIZE.
The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is a competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. In order to take away the prize, the winner must design and build production-capable, 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance. To date, more than 70 teams from 12 countries have already signed a letter of intent to compete for a share of a $10 million purse.
Entrants to the auto X PRIZE include Loremo AG with its super efficient 157mpg vehicle. Other recent entrants to the Letter of Intent program include Motive Industries of Canada, Western Washington University, Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies, and TTW Turin Italy. Famed Rocker Neil Young has also flagged his intention to enter his 1960 Lincoln Continental conversion into the competition, along with his partner Jonathan Goodwin.
Jonathan Etherington, Principal Engineer of Tata Motors European Technical Centre, will lead the Tata Motors team. Under Etherington’s direction, the team intends to enter a pure e-drive micro car into the Alternative Class and Dominant Electric Hybrid vehicle into the Mainstream Class. The competition will officially kick on in September 2009 with a cross-country stage race in New York City, followed by nine other major markets throughout the US, in which competing vehicles will be tested and showcased in real world conditions. Winners will be the vehicles that exceed 100 MPG equivalent, fall under strict emissions caps and finish in the fastest time. The competition is scheduled to conclude in 2010.