Tata Motors to compete for US$10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE

After the Nano, Tata Motors is now going for EVs and hybrids…

Tata Motors, along with 70 other automotive companies from around the world, will be competing for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE in a competition to create viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles. Tata Motors’ British arm has signed an official Letter of Intent to compete for the X PRIZE, where the total prize money is US$10 million.

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is an independent and technology-neutral competition that’s open to teams that can design and build production-capable, 100mpg vehicles that people will want to buy and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance in one of two classes: Mainstream and Alternative.

Mainstream vehicles will be required to carry four or more passengers, have four or more wheels, and allow for a 320km range. Alternative class vehicles will be required to carry two or more passengers, have no constraints on the number of wheels, and allow for a 160km range.

Jonathan Etherington, Principal Engineer at Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), will lead the Tata Motors team. Under Etherington’s direction, the team intends to enter a pure e-drive micro car in the Alternative class and an electric hybrid vehicle in the Mainstream class.

‘We are so pleased that a diverse group of competitors intends to compete for the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE,’ said Don Foley, executive director of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. ‘With the first stage race only 17 months away and the price of crude oil now hovering around US$120 a barrel, consumer interest in the need for such a competition and a long term solution to fuel prices is rapidly growing,’ he added.

Beginning in September 2009, the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will kick off a cross-country stage race in New York City, followed by nine other major markets throughout the US, in which competing vehicles will be tested and showcased in real world conditions. Organizers are now seeking cities to host the remaining stages of the competition.

Winners will be the vehicles that exceed 100mpg equivalent, fall under strict emissions caps and finish in the fastest time. The competition is scheduled to conclude in 2010. For more details, visit the X PRIZE official website here.

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