X Prize Foundation offers $10 million prize for creator of eco-friendly car

Wanna win a cool $10 million? Read on. The X Prize Foundation is launching a contest to see who can design the best mass-producible, low-emissions vehicle, cheap enough to sell 10,000 units a year, with a fuel economy of at least 100 miles per gallon — about five times the U.S. average. “The [automotive] industry is stuck, and we think a prize is perfect to disrupt that dynamic,” says Mark Goodstein, executive director of the Automotive X Prize. In 2004, the foundation awarded $10 million to a team that produced the world’s first privately built spacecraft. Says Goodstein, “The technologies to build superefficient vehicles exist. It’s just a matter of convincing manufacturers to build them.” Some innovators think the X Prize could push even further. “Why stop at 100 mpg?” asks MIT student Robyn Allen, who has been working with colleagues to build a car that will get 200 mpg. Still, her MIT-led team plans to enter the contest. The prize will be awarded in 2009, after a series of races in a variety of driving conditions.