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Automotive X Prize — $10 million for 100mpg. Too little, too late?

Following on the tail (actually, under way for a while already) of the Supreme Court ruling on carbon dioxide as a regulatable pollutant, the folks who brought us the X Prize for low-cost space travel now turn their eyes on the automotive stratosphere.

Next X Prize: Build a practical, hyperefficient car

‘Auto X Prize’ has announced a competition to design a 100 m.p.g. car, but some say ‘why stop there?’

Page 1 of 3 If your dream is to build the world’s greatest car – not just a science project or a concept car, but a real-world, 100-mile-per-gallon vehicle that’s safe, can be mass-produced, and emits almost no pollutants – there’s a big, fat prize waiting for you. It’s expected to be at least $10 million, maybe much more.
Right off the bat, you might wonder, “is 100mpg really that great of a target?”
Why aim for just 100 miles per gallon or its energy equivalent? What about a vehicle that gets double that? What about a vehicle that burns no carbon-based fuel at all? Such are the criticisms already being leveled at the Automotive X Prize “draft guidelines,” to be formally unveiled this week at the New York International Auto Show. Most questions are being raised not by skeptics but by the contemporary soul mates of the Wright brothers and Henry Ford, true believers who would love to enter the “great race.”
After all, Tesla Motors claims that its street legal car already gets over 100mpg equivalent. True, it’s not exactly affordable at $92,000 each, but then they’re making them one by one, not on a big assembly line. Personally, I’d like to see Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute hop on this bandwagon. They’ve been talking for years and years about the viability of “hypercars,” and while I don’t doubt them, I’d like to see them actually build one of the suckers at long last. There’s now a 10 million dollar carrot dangling within reach.

Save Energy & Money This Winter: Seal Up Your Drafty House

Unless you’ve taken special preventative precautions, it’s likely that on cold days much of your house’s heat pours out through your (closed) windows. Most houses—especially old houses—have drafty, uninsulated windows that do little to prevent heat from dumping out into the cold night. Even if your windows aren’t drafty, the expensive heat your furnace has […] Read More..

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More..

Permaculture Q&A: Mulching Options for Your Garden

As Permaculture Month continues, we are making our expert authors available to answer your burning permaculture questions. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. This week, Lottie from Florida asked if there are other garden mulch options that are as effective as hay. Josh Trought, one of our soil building and garden management […] Read More..

Designing Your Own Solar Cooker & Dehydrator

In today’s world, nearly everything we use, from phones and computers to cars and kitchen appliances, requires energy derived from fossil fuels. Wouldn’t it be nice to offset some of that energy use by harnessing the renewable power of the sun? Josh Trought, founder of D Acres—an educational center in New Hampshire that researches, applies, […] Read More..

Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model

If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? How would you develop an organizational structure and connect with your community? And, how would you make sure all of this […] Read More..
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