Consumer Reports to Partner With X PRIZE Foundation on Automotive Safety Testing and Education

PLAYA VISTA, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Feb 18, 2009 -- Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports and and the X PRIZE Foundation today announced details of a unique partnership focused on automotive safety testing, advocacy and education efforts specifically related to the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE, a multi-million dollar competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles.

Consumer Reports will serve as the Official Active Safety Testing Partner for the competition. Among other requirements, competition vehicles must pass a variety of pre-race safety inspections and active safety performance tests. These tests will be conducted with advice and help from Consumer Reports, and certain tests will be performed in accordance with procedures developed by Consumer Reports. Examples include single and multiple braking tests, low-speed stability tests and emergency double-lane change maneuvers.

"Consumer Reports' mission to make the market a better and safer place for consumers is very much in line with our own mission to inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil," noted Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. "The focus of this X PRIZE is about much more than just bringing a new vehicle or technology to market; it is also about safety, viability, fuel efficiency and affordability -- all issues that Consumer Reports knows well."

Consumer Reports will bring a critical perspective on vehicle safety, features, and technology to the competition. David Champion, Senior Director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Division, will also join the Prize Administration Board of the competition.

The two organizations are exploring other ways to further accelerate consumer education and advocacy efforts, specifically on such topics as alternative fuels and fuel efficiency. In future testing of plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles, Consumer Reports is planning to report MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) as one of several measures that will help consumers understand and compare vehicle efficiency.

"We're delighted to be teaming up with the X PRIZE Foundation on this very exciting competition. We think this is a great way to encourage the creation of new and more fuel-efficient vehicles," Consumer Reports' David Champion said. The test center director noted that CR has had a long-time focus on fuel-efficiency and safety in its auto-test program.

Consumers Union (CU) was founded in 1936 and is recognized as one of the most important consumer organizations in the world. It maintains the world's largest nonprofit educational and consumer product testing facility.

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will award $10 million in prizes to teams that can engineer clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG or its energy equivalent fuel efficiency (MPGe) and win a stage race competition in 2010. For more information about the competition, please visit


The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit


Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports and, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.

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