Michigan to Star in Global Automotive Innovation Competition

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fuel Efficiency the Driver in this Race

DETROIT – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today announced that Michigan will this year be the center of a global competition to produce viable super fuel-efficient vehicles. Lt. Governor John Cherry and MEDC President and CEO Greg Main hailed the state’s role in the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE as a showcase for Michigan’s swiftly expanding automotive advanced battery and alternative energy industrial sectors.

“No state can match what Michigan has done over the last three years to become a global manufacturing center of greener, cleaner and sustainable energy technology,” Cherry said. “The Automotive X PRIZE competition will be seen around the world and Michigan, as the central testing grounds for these vehicles, will play a starring role.”

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is an international competition that pits some of the world’s most fuel-efficient vehicles against one another in a quest to win their share of a $10 million prize purse. From April to August, 2010, Michigan will host a series of intense, multi-stage performance and evaluation events that will determine the best of the 49 vehicles entered in the competition by 39 teams from around the world.

“Michigan is focused on becoming the center of green energy manufacturing as this competition is about finding innovative super-fuel efficient vehicles,” said Main. “Some of the world’s leading advanced battery and solar manufacturers have committed to massive investments in our state and this competition will show global audiences all that Michigan has to offer.”

Michigan is developing into a global center of automotive advanced battery manufacturing after a year of bold economic development initiatives. A year ago, during the 2009 NAIAS, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm signed into law sweeping first-in-the-nation advanced battery credits.

Since then, Michigan has attracted more than $4 billion in new investment in the advanced battery sector through job-creation development agreements with A123 Systems, Dow Kokam, Ford, General Motors, Johnson Controls-Saft, LG Chem-Compact Power, Toda America and Xtreme Power. Also in recent years, the state has attracted new alternative energy manufacturing projects with total investments of more than $3.5 billion in the solar, wind and biofuels sectors.

Cherry and Main spoke at a news conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) with Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of The X PRIZE Foundation, Roger Curtis, president of Michigan International Speedway (MIS) and Patrick Davis, program manager of energy efficiency and renewable energy vehicle technologies of the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE).

The competition’s four months in Michigan begin April 26 with a welcoming ceremony at the State Capitol in Lansing. Its intense, multi-stage performance and evaluation events will be conducted through the end of July at MIS. Final stage validation testing will take place throughout August at the EPA Labs in Ann Arbor and the DOE Argonne National Lab in Illinois. In addition to the Lansing ceremony, public events will include an open house at MIS and the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in September.


The goal of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage competition for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 miles per gallon or energy equivalent (MPGe). The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on efficiency, safety, affordability, and the environment. It is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers will want to buy, not science projects or concept cars. This progress is needed because today's oil consumption is unsustainable and because automotive emissions significantly contribute to global warming and climate change. For more information about the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, please visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org or email progressiveautopress@xprize.org.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.