BELLINGHAM, Wash. _ A group from Western Washington University is among 29 teams from around the world headed to Michigan for the next phase of the Progressive Automotive X Prize _ an international competition to build a super fuel-efficient vehicle that consumers want to buy.
WWU's sporty coupe, the Viking 45, is among the 37 vehicles entered in the competition for the $10 million purse, which will be split among winners in various categories. It was built by undergraduate students and faculty in the university's Vehicle Research Institute.
WWU is just one of two universities in the country in the competition. The other is Cornell.
Organized by the X Prize Foundation and backed by Progressive Insurance, the competition encourages the invention of a vehicle that will get at least 100 miles per gallon or its equivalent.
That means the winning vehicle could be powered by any type of fuel, as long as it emits no more than 200 grams of carbon dioxide per mile or its equivalent.
Organizers said their goal is to inspire a new generation of vehicles that help curb dependence on oil and stem the effects of climate change. The vehicles also must meet safety standards, as well as be durable and affordable.
WWU is entered in the alternative class, which requires vehicles to have a range of 100 miles and carry two or more passengers. Vehicles in the mainstream class must have a range of 200 miles and carry at least four passengers.
Known as the Shakedown Stage, this next phase of the competition runs April 26 to May 7 at Michigan International Speedway, where vehicles will be inspected and tested on braking speed, ability to change lanes, acceleration and refueling or recharging time.
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