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The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE has chosen the state of Michigan to host an intense multi-stage competition that aims to pit some of the world’s most fuel efficient vehicles against one another in a quest to win their share of a $10 million prize purse. Qualified teams are planning to arrive in Michigan for the start of on-track performance events in the spring of 2010, thanks to a unique new partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan International Speedway (MIS), announced today at the North American International Auto Show.
The series of scored performance and evaluation events kicks off April 26, 2010 and continues through the end of August 2010. During this time, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will conduct several competition stages aimed at evaluating the efficiency, safety and performance of each competition vehicle under real world conditions. While in Michigan, the competition will allow the public and the automotive world an opportunity to witness the competition stages as they unfold. Additionally, ongoing and interactive updates will be available online at www.progressiveautoxprize.org throughout the competition stages.
The competition stages and public events are as follows. Additional public events may be announced at a later date.
The purpose of this first stage is to conduct safety inspections and on-track dynamic safety evaluations of competition vehicles. Teams must submit their cars to on-the-ground challenges for the purpose of shaking out problem areas and preparing their vehicles for the Knockout Qualifying Stage that follows, all without risk of elimination by the judges. Vehicles will be tested on braking speed, lane change ability, acceleration and refueling/recharging time, among other elements.
Up to ten competition vehicles will be on display at the state capitol for the public and media to view, including opportunities to interact with the teams.
To narrow the field of competitors, Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE officials will re-conduct inspections and certify readiness for knockout stage challenges. In order to pass this stage, teams must demonstrate that their vehicles can achieve at least two-thirds of the stated 100 MPGe (miles per gallon or energy equivalent) goal while also meeting expectations for range, emissions, and real world performance. Achieving emissions thresholds will prove a significant hurdle for teams in this stage as will the “hill climb” challenge.
The greater Michigan community will be invited to a free one-day event to see some of the vehicles close up, meet and learn about the finalist teams in the DASH+ national high school contest— an element of the competition’s national education program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy— and explore a variety of interactive and informative booths and displays focused on innovation around fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. They will also have access to the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE technical team, which will provide insight into what each scoring leg is designed to calculate and explain how the competitors are challenged to prove that their vehicle can average the targeted 100 MPGe.
To identify the top finalists in each class, after a quick repeat of the static and dynamic safety checks, the remaining teams will compete in scored on-track challenges, and close with a “coast down” exercise to gain key performance information about the aerodynamics and rolling resistance to properly prepare the vehicles for the validation stage. Speed will be important and a maximum and minimum time for events will be established.
In this final technical event, the top finalists in both the Mainstream and Alternative classes will undergo dynamometer testing under controlled laboratory conditions at certified labs to verify technical performance results. The results of this testing, combined with the speed, efficiency and emissions results from the earlier events at Michigan International Speedway, will determine the winners of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.