Progressive Insurance Hosts Fuel Efficiency and Dashboard Design Contests

Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize has launched a contest to promote the design of super fuel efficient automobiles. Forty three teams have qualified for the contest so far; at stake is $10 million.

Progressive is also sponsoring a student contest to be held nationwide that will judge new and innovative dashboard designs. Registration for the student contest has just opened, and some high school teams have already registered to compete.

The X Prize fuel efficiency design teams are from eighteen states, ten different countries and will work with six fuel types. The teams have all already moved through the Design Judging phase of the competition, and will tackle performance and safety testing next. Each advance they are able to make puts them that much closer to the multimillion dollar prize.

The 43 teams that are moving on to the performance phase have been able to prove the viability of their vehicles; in other words, they have shown that they will be produced and available in time to compete in the formal challenges in the spring of 2010, can meet or exceed the requirements of the competition, and are also production capable.

There are two vehicle classes involved in the X Prize competition. A total of 53 teams will advance to the final competition with 28 in the Mainstream Class and 25 representing the Alternative Class.

X Prize chairman and CEO, Dr. Peter Diamandis, was a key participant in the announcement festivities at Manhattan’s Classic Car Club. He said, "The teams and vehicles represented in this group are the most viable in our competition and we believe that together they are positioned to make a huge impact on the automotive marketplace."

Also attending the event was Glenn Renwick, President and CEO of Progressive Insurance. He said, "The work that these teams have done is really amazing-congratulations to them all on getting this far. Over the next year, we’ll see significant advancement of these designs, taking us even closer toward the ultimate goal of making super fuel efficient vehicles a viable choice for consumers."

The basis of the X Prize competition is to design and build a production ready 100 MPG or energy equivalent (MPGe) vehicle that is marketable and meets other needs including price, performance, safety and size. Winners of the contest will be announced in September 2010, after performance testing has been completed.

The nationwide dashboard design contest that was opened to students is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Aptly named DASH+, the contest will require students to use math and science as well as creativity and design skills to come up with futuristic automobile dashboard layouts.

DASH+ teams are to include 2-5 U.S. students in the 9th-12th grade aged 14 and up by fall 2009. Each team will have an adult mentor. To register see the FuelOurFutureNow Web site.

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