SOURCE: Progressive Automotive X PRIZE

March 20, 2008 13:20 ET

U.S. Department of Energy and the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Partner to Develop National Education Program

Groups Aim to Excite Students About Energy Efficiency, Next-Generation Auto Technology

SANTA MONICA, CA--(Marketwire - March 20, 2008) - The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a multi-million dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles, today announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to inspire youth and the general public about the alternative vehicle and fuel options of the near future. The two organizations plan to create a national education program that will encourage young people to pursue careers in energy-efficient sciences and technology. The U.S. Department of Energy plans to make up to a $3.5 million USD grant to fund this program, subject to appropriation from Congress.

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will award at least $10 million in prizes to teams that can engineer clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG or its energy equivalent fuel efficiency (MPGe) and win a cross-country stage race. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is perfectly aligned with the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy to strengthen America's energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality through public-private partnerships that:

--  Promote, advance, develop and strengthen advanced vehicle technologies
--  Enhance energy efficiency and productivity
--  Bring clean, reliable, and affordable energy technologies to the
--  Make a difference in the everyday lives of Americans by enhancing
    their energy choices and their quality of life

In addition to providing more consumer choices and helping preserve natural resources, a key goal of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is to engage students and the public in learning about advanced vehicle technologies, energy efficiency, climate change, alternative fuels, and the science and math behind efficient vehicle development.

"The Department of Energy has a rich history of research and development in energy efficiency, and a commitment to educating consumers and the public on the importance of the issue," said Don Foley, Executive Director of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. "The organization has had a highly respected collegiate vehicle competition for over 20 years and we are delighted to have them bring their experience and expertise to the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE initiative, aimed at K-12 students and the public."

The world-class education program will engage students and showcase the 21st century skills students will need to compete in our new global economy: teamwork, creativity, strong literacy, math and science skills and innovative thinking. The program will provide comprehensive online resources easily accessible to students, parents and teachers. This online knowledge center will provide an interactive experience that will allow both students and the general public to follow the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE vehicles as they perform in real-time during the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE races and learn about key science and technology issues as a result.

"This grant represents one of the most important ways the Energy Department is leveraging private sector expertise to educate and engage the public about utilizing clean, cutting-edge technologies to transform our transportation sector," DOE Assistant Secretary Alexander A. Karsner said. "Our support and collaboration with the Automotive X PRIZE aims to not only demonstrate the practical and much-needed use of advanced and energy-efficient vehicle technologies to reduce our dependence on oil, but we hope it will also inspire our next generation to pursue careers in math, science and education and engineering, so America remains at the forefront of innovation and discovery."

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE education program funded by the Department of Energy will further engage students through national contests that ask them to imagine what the role of transportation will be in their future world. The program will be designed to build excitement among students, engaging them in a competitive and creative process while conveying the X PRIZE approach to fostering breakthroughs that benefit humanity through competition.


The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit or email

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


Working with a wide array of state, community, industry, and university partners, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in a diverse portfolio of energy technologies. Energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy will mean a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy independence for America.

For more information contact about the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy please contact the EERE Information Center at 1-877-EERE-INF (1-877-337-3463) or on the web at

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