Sunday, June 03, 2007

Blogger Thoughts on the Automotive X PRIZE

DigitalCrusader has some interesting thoughts and links on the Automotive X PRIZE, some of which may have a space angle in addition to the obvious one that the success or failure of the Automotive X PRIZE affects the X PRIZE Foundation that manages the Lunar Lander Challenge, X PRIZE Cup, and potentially future space X PRIZEs.

One discussion is on Tesla Motors, which is making a fuel-efficient car that is also sporty. This is another company like SpaceX that Elon Musk is financing. They need high-performance batteries for their cars, and are now finding that it makes sense to market the batteries to other companies. This is the kind of dual-use approach that may be needed by many space startups, including the ones competing to win prizes.

Another discussion compares the Automotive X PRIZE with the SAE Supermileage Competition, which is mainly for high-mileage vehicles, whereas the AXP strives for high mileage, but not so much that consumer market applicability is forgotten. Both competitions have their merits, but the AXP approach is needed to address their goals, one of which is to start real markets with 100 mpg vehicles. Similar thoughts have to go into space-related prizes and how to design them to achieve their goals.

Also check out the Automotive X PRIZE Discussion Forums. They have discussion groups on the draft rules, helping people that want to work on teams find a suitable team, and other useful subjects. This type of discussion board seems to be very useful in helping the teams produce, helping manage the competition, and generating public interest in the challenge. I wonder if there is some way that other groups, such as the Centennial Challenges Affiliated Organizations, could make similar discussion boards, or collaborate with the XPF to make something like the AXP boards?

Update: Here's more on the Automotive X PRIZE:

Car Body on the Velozzi electric car entry to the upcoming AXP contest

Velozzi on their AXP entry, and what you might get if your business sponsors them

AutoBlogGreen interviews Neal Anderson, Automotive X PRIZE representative