WIN 10 Million Dollars For A Fuel Efficient Car!

That’s right.  Any body that comes up with a vehicle that can accomplish 100mpg and complete a few tests can win MILLIONS of Dollars. The foundation X-PRIZE is offering the reward as an incentive for innovators to compete and create.  Talk about a substantial carrot. 

I would love to see an affordable and fuel efficient vehicle that doesn’t look like a bubble.  We need a better choice.  The hybrids we have now are OK but they are not what the average American drives.  Besides that current Big Boy Companies such as Toyota claim their Prius Hybrid gets 50 to 60 MPG.  That has not been the case in real world applications they achieve maybe 40 MPG.  Not much more than my brothers standard 2000 corrola/prism.  My own 97 Camry gets 27 city and up to 35 highway.  Toyota has a Hybrid Camry as well which looks great, but only gets estimated 40mpg with real world being significantly lower.  With these hybrids costing nearly 25-30k who is going to switch when their car is paid off and drives great only to get another 10 miles to the gallon?  Don’t get me wrong they are stepping in the right direction but the savings just don’t add up. 

If there were a viable solution I think most Americans would jump at the opportunity given it is affordable and doesn’t look like a space ship.  There are test cars the size of small yachts with solar panels all over but that is not a workable vehicle.  There have been attempts to convert the hybrids into hybrids by also “plugging them in” like a standard electric vehicle.  They estimate 250mpg but only reach 80mpg.  This option would add about 6k dollars to the Toyota Prius cost.

Electric cars are a good idea, but to replace all those batteries it is expensive and not cost effective.  Other fuels such as ethanol have been in use in other countries such as Brazil for years.  When I lived in Sao Paulo in 1997-1999 many of the cars ran on ethanol made from Sugar Cane which is very easy to produce in Brazil.  However the American version of ethanol made from corn actually burns more fuel producing it than it produces.  Besides that most of the US farmland would be converted into corn fields.  Popular mechanics had an interesting comparison between hybrids view the article here.   Brazil has had an interesting transition into the ethanol world.  It has been in the works since the 1970’s.  The U.S. has a few hurdles to go.  Many American consumers don’t know that their car can already run on ethanol.  In 1992 Chevy released a Lumina that was a “Flex-Fuel” vehicle and could run on both types of fuel.  Some run on mixtures of up to 85% ethanol such as the some of Ford’s Larger SUV’s.  Problem is that there are not many places to get the fuel.   

We need to find an alternative to solve this problem.  Hydrogen may be an answer for the future but not for the now.  This competition gives the free market a chance to compete and the many intelligent thinkers we have in the US are likely to be enticed by this Carrot.  This problem needs to be solved now!  What are you going to do?

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