Automotive X PRIZE competitor Illuminati Motor Works Q & A

14. Could you explain the various rules and regulations a vehicle manufacturer must meet? In your opinion is some of this becoming a bit of overkill in regards to electric vehicles? Some might argue that you can never over engineer safety.

Nate:

You can never over engineer safety, but I think some times they are trying to engineer common sense. I think regulations are beyond the point where they help the consumer and into the point they stifle any invention. There is a whole industry now around suing any inventor because they made something similar to a vague patent a law firm purchased.

Kevin:

Safety is important, I don’t want anyone to get hurt let alone loose a loved one in a car accident. However, I disagree with mandating common sense. If you choose not to wear your seat belt this is a free country and you should enjoy that freedom, however if you are injured for lack of wearing said seatbelt then no one other than you is responsible for the medical and or legal expenses that may ensue. I think a level of safety is needed but the line should be drawn at common sense.

15. How strict are the rules, regulations and guidelines for the Automotive X PRIZE competition?

Kevin:

The rules are very detailed and where some requirements can be bent most are set in stone. Overall the XPRIZE tries to cover as many possible scenarios as they can without inhibiting creativity or flexibility of design. There will always be some points of contention in the rules; the result of allowing flexibility is the rising of unforeseen circumstances. The XPRIZE foundation has done a thorough job of trying to minimize these events but knowing that perfection is impossible they have organized a panel to review and make decisions on what is or isn’t allowable within the spirit of the rules if not adhering to the letter.

Nate:

The rules are strict, but fair and where there are problems they have shown willingness to work with the competitors.

16. Do you feel the Automotive X PRIZE will lead to more fuel-efficient cars actually being manufactured? Or is this just another competition with lots of hype but in the end no real bite?

Kevin:

I believe that the competition, if it doesn’t lead directly to manufacturing a more efficient vehicle, it will at lead to partnerships between the competitors and the large automakers that will create an infusion of fresh ideas and give the fuel-efficient vehicle revolution the jumpstart it needs. Further the exposure that existing small manufactures, e.g. Tesla Motors, will receive from participating in the competition will give them a real boost in potential customer base.

Nate:

I think the answer lies in the current manufactures, Fords new Ecoboost engine, the Chevrolet Volt, and the slew of new hybrids.

George:

The seed money for the winner would certainly be a start; but to get the order of magnitude in manufacturing needed to make a dent in the overall efficiency of the average American vehicle it is going to take investment capital and availability of loan credit.

17. Over the years we have seen many announcements about various fuel efficient vehicles. But when the manufacture date hits we never see any production. Even Telsa is running a year late on their Model S. Is there any way this can be changed? Do your team members feel there is enough real support being given to this effort?

Nate:

I think a grace period on legal suits where a new car company can get a vehicle out into mass production and find what really works, in the real world versus theory. I ask you on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing; would we have been able to get to the moon if NASA was getting sued over every invention, and accident they had on the way to the moon?