Organizers of the Automotive X Prize, a $10 million competition for super fuel-efficient vehicles, announced at the North American Auto Show in Detroit that the much anticipated on-track competition will kick off April 26 and continue through August 2010 in Michigan.

Michigan was selected for the location of the contest as "the birthplace of the American automotive industry," noted Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of The X Prize Foundation.

The 51 vehicles must achieve the goal of 100 MPGe (miles per gallon or energy equivalent) for range, emissions, and performance. This challenge seeks to develop real, production-capable cars for consumers for the future that are suitable for the environment - not science projects or concept cars.

Part of the X Prize Foundation, which seeks breakthroughs in technology "for the benefit of humanity," creates prizes that pursue innovation in areas including the life sciences, exploration, education, global development, energy and the environment. It has encouraged entrepreneurial research in private spaceflight, human genomes, and Google's Lunar X Prize to put a robot on the moon.

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize will pit the most fuel-efficient vehicles in a series of scored evaluations of the efficiency, safety and performance of each vehicle in real-world conditions. These closed-door competitions are located at the Michigan International Speedway.

The public can view vehicles on select dates, including April 29 for the competition opening at the State Capitol, Lansing, Michigan.

- April 26-May 7: Shakedown Stage - Inspections test brakes, lane changing, acceleration, and refueling/recharging time, without elimination risk.

- June 20-28: Knockout Qualifying Stage - narrows the competitors, X Prize officials conduct inspections to certify readiness to achieve emissions thresholds.

- July 19-30: Finals - Identifies top finalists in each class in on-track challenges; a "coast down" exercise for information on aerodynamics and rolling resistance.

- August 2010: Validation Stage - final technical event for Mainstream and Alternative classes. With dynamometer testing under controlled laboratory conditions.

The award ceremony for winners of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize to receive the $10 million in prizes is scheduled for September in Washington, DC.


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