Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 096-08
March 20, 2008


Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Will Test More Than 60 Energy Efficient Cars,
Helping Support City's Goal of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 30% by 2030 as Set Forth in PlaNYC

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and X PRIZE Foundation founder and Chairman Dr. Peter H. Diamandis today announced the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition at the annual New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE recognizes the world's most innovative and fuel-efficient vehicle designs, tests them with stage races in 2009 and 2010, and rewards the winners - which must be vehicles that are 100 mile-per-gallon energy equivalent - with a $10 million purse prize funded by the competition's sponsor, Progressive. New York City will be the host city to kick off the cross-country race in September 2009. The Mayor and Dr. Diamandis were joined by U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy John Mizroch and CEO of Progressive Glenn Renwick at the announcement at the Javits Center, where four of the 64 competing teams unveiled their designs.

"The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an excellent example of how the private sector can spur solutions to our most complex challenges," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Here in New York City, we are also stepping up to the plate on energy conservation, by transforming our taxi fleet into hybrids and cutting the City's energy use by 30% over the next ten years. It's all part of PlaNYC, our plan to create a greener, greater New York. Development of a super-efficient car would be a major step forward in the fight against global warming - and it would help us reach our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 30% by 2030. To maximize national and international awareness of the X PRIZE, I am pleased to announce that New York will be the starting point for the race next year."

"The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is a call to action to promote and inspire innovation," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. "The environmentally friendly cars created as a result of this competition will affect everyone who drives in ways we can't even imagine today. Let the race begin!"

Today's announcement comes just weeks before the one year anniversary of PlaNYC, the City's plan to create a greener, greater New York. PlaNYC details a comprehensive set of 127 specific initiatives that work towards a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 30% by 2030. As part of PlaNYC, the City has adopted regulations that will require all 13,000 yellow taxis licensed after October 1, 2008, to meet fuel efficiency standards currently only achievable through the use of hybrid technology. Last month, the Mayor announced that the City's approximately 10,000 black cars that service corporate clients will also be required to increase fuel efficiency to meet the same emission standards. To encourage more New Yorkers to buy hybrids, the City is asking the State Legislature to waive the City portion of the sales tax for highly efficient vehicles. The City has also proposed a congestion pricing plan that, if approved, would reduce traffic congestion and transportation-related carbon emissions, and win the City $354.5 million in federal aid.

The X PRIZE Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity by holding $10 million dollar (or larger) competitions to solve some of the world's greatest challenges, created the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE to inspire the development of production-capable, consumer vehicles. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE invites teams from around the world to design and build consumer vehicles that are 100 mile-per-gallon energy equivalent. The competition focuses on affordability, safety, and the environment, culminating in a long-distance Qualifying Race in 2009, and a Grand Prize Final Race in 2010. The 2009-2010 winning designs will split $10 million, sponsored by Progressive Insurance. X PRIZE is also supported through a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the education component.

To date, more than 60 teams from nine countries have signed a letter of intent to compete for a share of the prize purse. The window for applications will be open until mid-2008, when a thorough qualification process will assess safety, cost, features and business plans to ensure that only production-capable, consumer-friendly cars compete. Those that qualify will race their vehicles in rigorous cross-country stage races in 2009 and 2010 that combine speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance. The winners will be the vehicles that exceed the 100 MPG standard, meet strict emissions standards and finish with the fastest time

For more information about the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE, please visit


Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly   (212) 788-2958

Kimberly Spell/Carli Smith (NYC & Co.)   (212) 484-1247

More Resources
Watch the video in low or high bandwidth