Automotive X competition begins in Michigan

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Vehicles from around the world are beginning to arrive at the Michigan International Speedway, ahead of the start of the Automotive X competition.

Twenty-eight teams from around the globe are expected to participate in Automotive X, one of the world's best known "green" competitions, which officially launches on April 29.

Established automakers, start-ups, universities, inventors, and even a high school will compete against one another to win a share of the $10 million (€7.5 million) prize awarded in September to the world's most fuel efficient cars.

The aim of the competition is to encourage development of a new generation of cars that are capable of 100 mpg (2.35 l/100km) or the energy equivalent.

The 28 competitors fall into two categories - mainstream vehicles, which must have four wheels, carry four passengers and be capable of running for 200 miles (321 km), and alternative vehicles which must carry two or more passengers and allow for a 100 mile (160 km) range.

This week kicks off the first of three stages scheduled for the competition, the "shakedown" stage. Entrants will be inspected and safety tested, given on track challenges with no penalties, and generally ready their vehicles for the "knockout" stage that begins June 20.

The knockout stage stipulates that entrants must be performing at a minimum of two thirds of their 100 mpg (2.35 l/100km) goal, while completing challenges such as hill climbs and real world performance tests.

Ten competitors are expected to remain for the finals, a competition event that begins on July 19. A series of on-track challenges at the Michigan International Speedway, including performance tests on aerodynamics and stability, will determine the finalists, before a series of laboratory tests on the vehicles to finalize the winners in August.

The majority of the 36 vehicles competitors are from the United States - 24 in total. Entrants from Canada, China, Thailand, Finland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are also represented.

Follow the competition online at http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/

Watch the Automotive X Prize launch at the North American International Auto Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6YmW8b9r9I

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