Eye On The Prize: $10 Mil for Car that Does 3,000 Miles per Fill-up

October 27 2008 / by Will
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 1

Cross posted from Where There’s A William (with edits) by Will Brown.

I would like a concensus, should I submit this to the X-Prize Foundation for official consideration?

The Singularity Summit was held this past weekend. X-Prize Foundation CEO Peter Diamandis confirmed that there is something in the works leading to what he termed a Singularity University, prompting Alvis Brigis to ask:

“Might this be a first step toward a Singularity X-Prize? :) What do you think a “Singularity University” might consist of?”

I address these questions directly in comments, but all of the foregoing inspires me to suggest a future X-Prize for the good doctor’s consideration: The Island Hop Challenge.

Here are the terms:

A $10 million prize to the first vehicle that can travel from Staten Island in New York to Coronado Island in California, within a six day period and using only the fuel carried by the vehicle at the start of the challenge (plug-in recharge of electric vehicles is forbidden, but an on-board mechanism to re-fill the internal fuel storage is permitted if such is powered from the vehicles on-board power system).

All vehicles must meet all rules and regulations governing licensing and safety requirements to operate on US roads and highways.

Competing vehicles will also be capable of carrying 1200 lbs of cargo and/or passengers (in addition to the driver and specifically not to include the fuel or other energy source) for the duration of the challenge. Fuel type and motive source are at the discretion of the individual entrant, however all vehicles must conform to US law and regulation regarding such matters.

Challengers must agree to lowjack their entry, but course selection is up to them. Further, challengers must agree to accept installation on their vehicle of any mechanism the X-Prize Foundation deems suitable to ensure compliance with re-fueling or other restrictions as the Foundation may deem necessary.

Finally, all challengers agree to allow the X-Prize Foundation to supervise an auction of their submitted technology to commercial motor vehicle manufacturers following the competition, regardless of which entry, if any, might be judged the winner. 10% of the proceeds from said auction to go to the X-Prize Foundation to fund future ventures.

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I don’t know about you, but 3,000 miles between fill-ups sounds like a $10 million idea to me.

Comment Thread (3 Responses)

  1. They have an automotive x-prize. 100 miles on one gallon of fuel (Or 100mpg). 3000 miles (which your suggesting) with a regular tank of let’s say, 15 gallon tank is 200mpg. Now, if they extended the 1 gallon to 15 at 100mpg, that would be half of what you’re proposing. Filling up twice to get to the same destination is desirable.

    Posted by: Covus   October 29, 2008
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  2. I like the idea, but couldn’t someone rig an existing fuel-transport truck to use the transported fuel as its own supply? I don’t see any stated rules to prevent something like this. Maybe there could be some rule that the vehicle weight could not be reduced more than a certain fixed value or percentage from the start of the trip to the end (and there’d have to be additional guidelines preventing weight from being added mid-journey as an offset).

    Posted by: gremlinn   October 29, 2008
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  3. @ gremlinn

    couldn’t someone rig an existing fuel-transport truck to use the transported fuel as its own supply?

    Possibly, but only in a way that complies with existing law and regulation. What you describe would require stopping to re-fuel. I would argue your example as being equivelant to plugging in an electric vehicle overnight, which is forbidden.

    I take your point though and agree the X-Prize Foundation would want to refine the basic restrictions to best achieve the desired result.

    Just to be clear, the “on-board mechanism to re-fill the internal fuel storage” stipulation was intended to encourage innovation in hydrogen capture/fuel cell technology for in-vehicle applications (as one possible technology example). I didn’t want to be too specific, but it seems some exclusivity will be necessary. Some restriction as to vehicle type/application might be sufficient, but I specifically wanted to not exclude trailerable options so as to encourage touring-type motorcycles in the competition mix. Given the inherant limitations on passenger numbers and cargo weight for motorcycles, perhaps two separate catagories would be a more workable format.

    Good catch gremlinn.

    Posted by: Will   October 29, 2008
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