The X-Prize foundation, the same folks who organized the competition for consumer spaceflight technology, is ponying up another multi-million dollar prize for the team that can produce the best consumer car that gets more than 100mpg
. Although this isn't new news, it is interesting to see that every single major U.S. automaker, those with the most R & D money, the most to gain, and the most to lose, are conspicuously absent from the competition. Exciting startups like Aptera
, with their 300+mpg plug-in hybrid, and both Tesla
and Zap! Automotive
, with their 250 miles per charge electric cars, have thrown their hats in the ring along with 30 or so other competitors. Not only do consumers want more efficient cars, but with peak oil just around the corner
and the current state of climate change, we NEED more efficient modes of transportation that use minimal or no fossil fuels.
The U.S. carmakers have shown their loyalty to the oil companies
time and time again by fighting improved efficiency standards and continuing to make cars bigger and less efficient. It is indeed sad that the once great American auto industry has fallen so far, but they have and continue to dig their own graves. We can only hope that our government and our people will have the foresight to support these burgeoning clean energy and clean vehicle industries. We can rebuild some of the lost American manufacturing empire, stimulate the economy, and keep jobs in our country.