Top Indian vehicle manufacturer Tata has confirmed its entry in a global competition to create viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Progressive Insurance Automotive X competition, which promises total prize winnings of US$ 10 million, is open to teams from around the world to design and build production-capable 100 MPG vehicles "that people will want to buy".
Different criteria will be identified in two categories - mainstream and alternative.
Tata is the first automotive manufacturer to sign an official letter of intent to compete in the competition. It joins a list of more than 70 teams, made up mainly of universities, environmentally-focused groups and tech companies from 12 countries.
Jonathan Etherington, principal engineer at Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), will lead the Tata Motors team.
This team plans to build an e-drive micro car for the Alternative segment, and a Dominant Electric Hybrid vehicle for the Mainstream class.
Beginning in September 2009, the X Prize will be staged in a cross-country race starting in New York City in which vehicles will be tested in real world conditions.
"With the first stage race only 17 months away and the price of crude oil now hovering around US$ 120 a barrel, consumer interest in the need for such a competition and a long term solution to fuel prices is rapidly growing," Don Foley, executive director of the Progressive Automotive X Prize, said.
Winning vehicles will need to exceed the fuel efficiency requirement, meet strict emissions requirements and finish in the fastest time. The competition is scheduled to finish in 2010.