Issue: Apr 2006


X PRIZE Foundation Challenges Innovation at SAE Congress



by Rob White

The non-profit foundation that created a prize to inspire the world's first private spaceship believes that this same spirit of ingenuity can be applied to the automobile industry.

Mark Goodstein, executive director of the X PRIZE Foundation's automotive prize, will address attendees at the 2006 SAE World Congress as he opens the FEV Powertrain Innovation Forum

Goodstein's organization believes the technology exists to mass produce hyper-efficient vehicles, but the industry has been slow-moving and many obstacles must be overcome. This makes the automotive industry ripe for a very challenging prize, like the X PRIZE, that rewards private-sector innovation.

"A cultural change must occur if the future of the U.S. auto industry is to be assured," says Goodstein. "By fostering private-sector innovation, the X PRIZE Foundation provides a catalyst for progressive thinking."

The X PRIZE Foundation chose the FEV Powertrain Innovation Forum as the venue for its remarks to emphasize the importance of powertrain innovation as a likely focal point for developing technology that can achieve a serious reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels.

"It was quite amazing to see the ingenuity that was created by the Ansari X PRIZE for commercial space flight," says Gary Rogers, FEV's president, who invited Goodstein to speak at the FEV Powertrain Innovation Forum. "We will be very interested to learn more about how the X PRIZE Foundation identifies areas where exceptional innovation can spark revolutionary change, especially in the automotive industry where hundreds of billions of dollars are invested in existing capital equipment and processes."

X PRIZE points out that the automotive industry is vital to the global economy as it accounts for 10 percent of the gross domestic product in developed nations. Although bio-fuel, fuel-cell and plug-in technologies are all promising, current consumer attitudes and the current transportation infrastructure favors solutions based on gasoline and diesel fuels.

"We're still using the internal combustion engine after 10 years and getting 20 miles to the gallon for the past 40 years," says X PRIZE Founder Dr. Peter Diamandis. "The timing is right to push the envelope and shake things up."

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit organization. Its mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Based on the success of the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, the foundation is widely regarded as the leading prize management institute in the world. For more information please visit http://www.xprize.org/ .

FEV is an independent engine and powertrain systems research, design and development company, headquartered in Aachen, Germany. Globally, it provides complete concept-to-production (C2P(TM)) support to the transportation industry, commercial engine manufacturers and the emerging fuel-cell industry. The company designs, prototypes and develops advanced gasoline-, diesel- and

alternative-fueled engines, as well as advanced vehicle-powertrain concepts, electronic control systems and hybrid-electric vehicles.

FEV also is a global supplier of advanced test cell, instrumentation and test equipment. Please visit http://www.fev.com/ for additional company information.

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