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Automotive X Prize Scores $5.5M DOE Award for Green Car Contest

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The $10 million in winnings for the Automotive X Prize competition can provide a welcome influx of cash for the DIY garage-based team, startup or even a more established automaker that builds the best 100 MPG car with a minimum 200-mile range, based on a number of tests and road trials. Today the competition itself has scored some funding of its own, in the form of an up to $5.5 million award from the Department of Energy.

According to the DOE’s announcement this morning, the $5.5 million for the X Prize Foundation comes from the agency’s pot of stimulus funds, and will help expand education and outreach efforts for the competition nationwide. The DOE also plans to provide technical expertise “to ensure that each of the competition designs is reviewed correctly and consistently.”


This isn’t the first time Washington has gotten giddy over the green car contest, which requires teams to submit a viable business plan for building 10,000 cars. The Senate passed a resolution last year praising the foundation for helping “break the addiction of the United States to oil and stem the effects of climate change.”

The DOE also awarded a nearly $3.5 million grant last year to help with the education and outreach component. At the time, then-Assistant Secretary Andy Karsner called it “one important way the Bush administration is leveraging private sector expertise to educate and engage the public about utilizing clean, cutting-edge technologies to transform our transportation sector.”

The Obama administration’s DOE can use similar language with a bit more cred, having finally doled out funding under a long-delayed green car manufacturing loan program, raised the bar on fuel efficiency for cars, and just handed out some $33 million for cutting-edge green vehicle tech development, among other things. Announcing today’s award, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said, “This funding will support cutting-edge, American innovation that can help us fundamentally transform personal transportation and address the global climate crisis.”

3 Responses to “Automotive X Prize Scores $5.5M DOE Award for Green Car Contest”

  1. GSI Group has developed with Ford Motor company a new spark plug that fires hotter with less fuel. They can split the laser up and fire it into different zones in the combustion chamber. I think this will lead to various biofuels with less flamability to be reconsidered or used with less ethanol to form combustion. I have even seen videos on youtube where they are attempting to use water in spark plug experiments. But amplifying a spark plug would use more energy and wear out the plug. The laser that is being developed also sends info back to a computer to correct any illregularities. There are several articles and a video on youtube about their laser spark plug. Just when Hybrids are starting to get 40 to 50 miles per gallon, GSI and Ford might boost that number up 10 miles per gallon or more.