X Prize automotive competition — inside CEI discussions

The X Prize Foundation has announced a $10 million automotive prize:

The newly renamed Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an international competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. The independent and technology-neutral competition is open to teams from around the world that can design, build and bring to market 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people want to buy, and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.

When I first read an email about the announcement, I asked if “safety” would be one of the criteria, as often some of the tradeoffs involved in designing cars are not recognized, especially through government mandates, for example, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standard doesn’t recognize that smaller and lighter cars may get greater gas mileage but are often less safe than larger heavier cars when they are involved in accidents.

This led to a rapid exchange of views among CEI staff — see further postings. 

I then learned that the vehicles have “to meet safety regulations in the U.S. and other markets.”

On this point I have some strong views, but I’ll continue my posting after other staffers post their own comments on the X Prize.