Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Announces New Division for Large Automakers to Showcase Fuel-Efficiency Efforts

DETROIT, MI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Jan 11, 2009 -- The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a multimillion dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles, today announced details of a Demonstration Division designed specifically for large, established automobile manufacturers. "We believe that this new Division provides an ideal platform for major automakers in the U.S. and E.U. to promote their latest fuel-efficient vehicles and we hope this announcement sparks new entries into the competition," noted Peter Diamandis, President and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation.

The Demonstration Division, distinct from the existing Competition Division, is intended to showcase high-efficiency vehicles from established automakers that are already selling fully validated, four-wheel vehicles in the U.S. or E.U. at quantities greater than 10,000 per year, and have been doing so since 2005. Such companies may enter efficient Mainstream Class vehicles that are either in production or committed for production and sale in the U.S. or E.U. prior to the end of 2012.

"We hope automakers will take another look at our mission and see just how closely it aligns with their goals of bringing new, affordable and fuel-efficient technology to drivers everywhere," added Diamandis. "The auto industry is changing rapidly, and the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE plans to offer an unprecedented showcase of what the future can hold. Our team would welcome an opportunity to meet with automaker representatives at the Auto Show, and explore ways that we can work together."

The new Division was created to address the fact that actual, high-volume production vehicles involve more and substantially harder engineering challenges and tradeoffs than developmental vehicles that are production-capable.

There is no prize purse in the Demonstration Division, although participating companies are also welcome to enter the Competition Division. Demonstration Division vehicles must meet the specifications and requirements of the Mainstream Class, except for Miles Per Gallon or Energy Equivalent (MPGe) and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions. Demonstration Division vehicles will participate in the same events as Competition Division vehicles in order to demonstrate their capabilities and performance.

Companies entering the Demonstration Division will receive a variety of special benefits. For example, automotive dealers that represent manufacturers in the Demonstration Division will have options to display and promote currently available high-efficiency vehicles at Progressive Automotive X PRIZE events. Promotional and educational materials about the competition and the Demonstration Division will stress the rigorous engineering requirements of production vehicles. Among other things, this will explain why their fuel-economy performance may be less than that of developmental vehicles that are production-capable but have not been engineered and optimized for largescale production.

"Through this competition, we hope to bring more fuel-efficient vehicles to drivers everywhere. We are certain that the involvement of established automakers will yield many positive outcomes and add significantly to the universe of innovations brought forward," added Larry Bloomenkranz, Chief Marketing Officer of Progressive, title sponsor of the competition.

A Brief Summary of Demonstration Division Requirements:

--  The Demonstration Division is open to companies with a substantial
    track record -- those that are already selling fully validated four-wheel
    vehicles in the U.S. or E.U. at quantities greater than 10,000 per year,
    and have been doing so since 2005.
    
--  Demonstration Division vehicles must be either in production or
    committed for production and sale in the U.S. or E.U. prior to the end of
    2012. For vehicles not yet in production, there must be a public commitment
    for production, as well as evidence that production and marketing have been
    approved and funded.
    
--  Demonstration Division must meet the same specifications and standards
    as Mainstream Class vehicles in the Competition Division (i.e., 4-wheels,
    4+ passengers, etc.), except for MPGe and GHG emissions. There is no
    Alternative Class equivalent in the Demonstration Division.
    
--  Demonstration Division vehicles will be tested in the same way as
    Competition Division vehicles -- i.e., they will participate in the
    Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition events under the same rules in
    order to demonstrate and showcase their capabilities and performance.
    

For more details on the competition, please visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org or contact the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE at Email Contact or 626-407-2720.

About the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Competition:

The goal of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE, a project of the X PRIZE Foundation, is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage race for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe. More than 20 teams have been accepted as Registered Contenders and an additional 100 teams have signed Letters of Intent to compete for their share of the $10 million prize purse.

The competition, which will kick off in late 2009, is expected to travel through multiple cities with a conclusion planned for 2010, building consumer demand for vehicles in the competition and demonstrating many practical, clean and affordable vehicle options. Supporters of the competition include the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Consumer Federation of America and numerous NGOs, along with Mayors and Governors from across the country--including Michigan's own Governor Jennifer Granholm.

For more information about the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE, please visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org or email Email Contact.

About Progressive:

Progressive, founded in 1937, is one of the country's largest auto insurance groups and a leading insurer of motorcycles, recreation vehicles, boats, and commercial vehicles. The Company offers competitive rates and innovative products and services that meet drivers' needs throughout their lifetimes as well as 24/7 online and in-person customer and claims service.

One of Progressive's Core Values is Excellence. To the Company's more than 27,000 people, it simply means seeking constant improvement. Over time, this has meant introducing revolutionary ideas that make car insurance easier to shop for, buy and use. It's this same innovative spirit that's behind the Company's sponsorship of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE.

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will inspire innovation that will produce more fuel-efficient vehicle choices, helping to make a difference in people's lives.

Progressive's products and services are available locally through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies in the U.S., online at http://www.progressive.com and by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737).

Contact:
Carrie Fox
202.255.9214

Email Contact





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