X Prize dangles $10 million for fuel-sipping car

Air-powered autos to be part of space travel foundation's competition to find a "real" superefficient vehicle for the masses, rather than a concept car.

The X Prize Foundation, best known for sponsoring space travel competitions, on Thursday offered $10 million to make a super-efficient car.

At the New York International Auto Show, the foundation and sponsor Progressive Casualty Insurance announced the newly named Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. The competition, open to both established automakers and unknown engineers, is meant to result in "real cars" that are available for purchase, rather than concept cars.

An X Prize contender: the Air Car from Zero Pollution Motors Zero Pollution Motors

More than 60 teams have for a signed up for the competition, including Aptera Motors and Tesla Motors, California electric-car manufacturers; Loremo, a German maker of diesel fuel cars; and a team from Cornell University, according to the Associated Press.

The winners will participate in a cross-country race in 2009, in which entries will be judged on fuel efficiency, speed, distance, and other factors. One entrant in the competition will be the air-powered car from MDI Motors, which will be developed in the United States by Zero Pollution Motors.

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