The so-called “Progressive” Automotive X PRIZE is anything but progressive, said a newly-formed coalition of Puget Sound business and government leaders named Driving Undermines Humanity (DUH) in a press conference on Friday.
The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is the latest in a series of privately-run technology competitions run by the X PRIZE Foundation. The foundation is best known for the showy but pointless flights of SpaceShipOne, a privately-funded “spacecraft,” which didn’t actually go into space, but won the first X PRIZE by flying to the paltry altitude of 100 kilometers (that’s a mere 328,000 feet for you non-nerds out there). The Space Shuttle orbits Earth at 3-4 times that altitude.
In the current X PRIZE competition, a $10 million prize will be rewarded to the first team to design a street-legal, production-ready car with a fuel efficiency of 100 miles per gallon.
And therein lies the problem for DUH. According to the group, the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is “actually about the worst possible idea ever,” due to the fact that it simply encourages further reliance on oil, instead of spurring development in alternative energies such as cars powered by grass clippings or “the Mr. Fusion thingy from that one time travel documentary.”
“We want to support innovation and progress,” said Everett Mayor and DUH member Ray Stephanson, “but we just can’t get behind a plan that will reward gas-guzzling enemies of our environment with a $10 million prize.”
DUH is petitioning the X PRIZE Foundation to drop the 100 miles per gallon qualification, and instead require that the winning design be powered by a renewable resource.
“Anyone who encourages any gasoline use at all is an enemy of planet Earth,” said Costco CEO James Sinegal. “We really hope that DUH can get through to the X PRIZE Foundation and convince them to drop this earth-hating charade.”
As an example of the kind of personal transportation technology the group would like to see promoted instead, members of DUH pointed to the Aptera Typ-1, an all-electric car set to be released in 2008 (pictured above). “Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it’s also got a cool futurey style too,” said Mayor Stephanson. “Of course, what we really want to do is force people to take the bus or the train,” he added.
DUH has partnered with Starbucks to bring their anti-X PRIZE message directly to the people by giving away free anti-X PRIZE bumper stickers to all drive-thru customers for the next three months. They will also be running extensive advertising campaigns which will depict a personified version of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE giddily dumping oil into streams, intentionally starting forest fires, and spraying excessive amounts of aerosol into the air just for the hell of it.
“We really think our message will resonate with people,” said Sinegal.