Washington, Jan 16 : A new competition in the US is encouraging automotive developers to produce a mainstream car that can travel at least 100 miles on a gallon of gas, and win no less than 10 million dollars.
Known as "Automotive X Prize", the Formal registration for this contest would begin in March.
According to a report in Discovery News, five venues will be selected for preliminary runs, which begin in 2009, and another five for the finals in 2010.
"This is not a competition being conducted in a laboratory or someplace in the desert," said project director Dan Foley.
"We're seeking some places with challenging weather conditions, where it's wet or snowy, or where there are hills. These are fuel-efficient cars being operated in normal conditions, on highways and in cities," he added.
Extremely good gas mileage is just one of the things that the winning entrants must accomplish. The cars also have to go fast - 65 mph or better - and keep any harmful emissions extremely low.
Another point stressed upon by the organizers of the event is that these cars have to be commercial and can't be concept cars with single, or even limited, production capability.
"We want to make these vehicles available," said Foley. "The American people need to see that fuel efficiency, which usually means smaller, lighter cars, can also be highway safe," he added.
The contest has sparked interest from big automotive companies like Telsa Motors and Aptera Motors, as well as local players like Maine Automotive X.
Teams from six countries outside of the United States, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Australia and Canada, have expressed interest in competing as well.
Though the prize amounts have not yet been announced, but according to Dan Foley, the X Prize doesn't run contests for less than 10 million dollars.