The Progressive Automotive X-Prize has lost a lot of potential and participating teams over the course of the past few years, and today it lost a dozen cities. See, in early 2008, the AXP asked for bids to host trial events around the U.S. and at least 14 said they were interested. Yesterday, Peter Diamandis, the chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, announced that nearly all of the actual on-the-road events will be held in Michigan. Make that the on-the-track events.

Yes, the actual competition for the AXP will take place almost exclusively in Michigan, with the Michigan International Speedway hosting the Shakedown and Knockout races starting in April (see a full schedule and more information after the jump). Once the field is whittled down to the top teams, final vehicle testing will be done at the EPA Labs in Ann Arbor, MI and Argonne National Labs in Chicago, IL. These tests will verify the on-track emission and performance figures and then the final awards ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C. this coming September.

There are 51 vehicles from 41 teams left in the contest, and a handful were on hand in Detroit. You can see them in the gallery below and click past the jump for much, much more, including an interview with the AXP's Eric Cahill.

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Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Automotive X Prize]


Interview with Eric Cahill, AXP's Senior Director (9 min., 4.2 MB download)





PRESS RELEASE

Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Chooses Michigan for 2010 Competition Events

$10 Million Competition for Super Fuel Efficient Vehicles Announces Partnership with Michigan Economic Development Corporation to Host Multi-Stage On-Track Challenges


DETROIT, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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. Fifty-one super efficient cars from 41 teams survived the rigorous design judging phase and now aim to ready their vehicles 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 closed door competition stages aimed at evaluating the efficiency, safety and performance of each competition vehicle under real world conditions. While in Michigan, the competition will open its doors at select dates to allow the public and the automotive world an opportunity to witness the competition stages as they unfold. In addition, ongoing and interactive updates will be available online at www.progressiveautoxprize.org throughout the competition stages.

"As the birthplace of the American automotive industry, Michigan has the knowledge base, the talent, and the facilities to support the innovation central to achieving the goals of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE and the future of the automotive industry," noted Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of The X PRIZE Foundation. "We couldn't be more thrilled to partner with Michigan as we enter the most exciting phase of the competition, and I'd especially like to thank Governor Granholm and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for helping us bring the competition to Michigan."

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm also added, "Michigan, the state that put the world on wheels, is excited to host the test phase of the Automotive X PRIZE competition. There is no place in the world better suited to display these super fuel-efficient and green-powered vehicles. We are home to more collective automotive manufacturing and R&D talent in North America than the other 49 states, Canada and Mexico combined. Michigan is charged up and ready to showcase the cars and trucks of the future and the advanced power systems that will fuel them."

The competition stages and public events are as follows. Additional public events may be announced at a later date.

* April 26 – May 7, 2010: SHAKEDOWN STAGE (CLOSED DOOR COMPETITION EVENT)

Location: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI

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.

* April 29, 2010 COMPETITION OPENER & WELCOME (PUBLIC EVENT)

Location: Michigan State Capitol, Lansing, MI

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.

* June 20-28, 2010 KNOCKOUT QUALIFYING STAGE (CLOSED DOOR COMPETITION EVENT)

Location: Michigan International Speedway

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.

* July 2010 OPEN HOUSE Exact Date TBD (PUBLIC EVENT)

Location: Michigan International Speedway

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.

* JULY 19-30, 2010 FINALS STAGE (CLOSED DOOR COMPETITION EVENT)

Location: Michigan International Speedway

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.

* AUGUST 2010 VALIDATION STAGE (CLOSED DOOR COMPETITION EVENT)

Location: EPA Labs (Ann Arbor, MI) and Argonne National Labs (Chicago, IL)

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.

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, with title sponsor Progressive Insurance, intends to announce winners and present checks at a special award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in September 2010. Specific details on this event will be announced at a later time.

ABOUT THE PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE AUTOMOTIVE X PRIZE

The goal of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage competition for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 Miles per gallon or energy equivalent (MPGe). The series of scored performance and evaluation events kicks off April 26, 2010 and continues through the end of August 2010. The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on efficiency, safety, affordability, and the environment. It is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers will want to buy, not science projects or concept cars. This progress is needed because today's oil consumption is unsustainable and because automotive emissions significantly contribute to global warming and climate change. For more information about the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, please visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org or email progressiveautopress@xprize.org.

ABOUT PROGRESSIVE

Progressive, founded in 1937, is one of the country's largest auto insurance groups and a leading insurer of motorcycles, recreation vehicles, boats, and commercial vehicles. The Company offers competitive rates and innovative products and services that meet drivers' needs throughout their lifetimes as well as 24/7 online and in-person customer and claims service. One of Progressive's Core Values is Excellence. To the Company's nearly 25,000 people, it simply means seeking constant improvement. Over time, this has meant introducing revolutionary ideas that make car insurance easier to shop for, buy and use. It's this same innovative spirit that's behind the Company's sponsorship of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will inspire innovation that will produce more fuel efficient vehicle choices, helping to make a difference in people's lives. Progressive's products and services are available locally through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies in the U.S., online at http://www.progressive.com, and by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737).

ABOUT THE PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE AUTOMOTIVE X PRIZE EDUCATION PROGRAM

Through a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE has developed a national education program to engage students and the public in learning about advanced vehicle technologies, energy efficiency, climate change and alternative fuels. Together with FuelOurFutureNow.com, an online knowledge center developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and Discovery Education, and the DASH+ high school student contest, the education program challenges young people to learn more about the science, technology, engineering and math behind efficient vehicle development. For more about the student contest to design the next-generation dashboard, visit FuelOurFutureNow.com/contest.

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating and conducting competitions in four prize groups: Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, and Education & Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leader in fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org
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