business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last Friday, in “OffBeat,” we wrote:

“I keep reading that people in the US automobile industry are worried that improved mileage standards will hurt the car companies and cost jobs.

“I don’t get it. What jobs? And why?

“If the US automobile industry banded together on a major project to create a car that would, say, get a minimum of 50 miles per gallon, and did so with the same kind of dedication and declaration that President Kennedy brought to sending a man to the moon, wouldn’t this create jobs? If there were some sort of incentive – like a multi million dollar prize – wouldn’t this get all the country’s great minds working on a solution that would both address the environmental problem and help address the issue of energy dependence on foreign and sometimes unfriendly governments?”

Well, an MNB user directed us to a website promoting something called “the Automotive X Prize, which is designed “to inspire a new generation of viable, super efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change.”

In terms of the judging criteria, the winning entrant will:

• Be simple to understand and easy to communicate.
• Benefit the world - this is a global challenge.
• Result in real cars available for purchase, not concept cars.
• Remain independent, fair, non-partisan, and technology-neutral.
• Provide clear technical boundaries (i.e., for fuel-efficiency, emissions, safety, manufacturability, performance, capacity, etc.).
• Offer a "level playing field" that attracts both existing automobile manufacturers and newcomers.
KC's View:
We wish all the entrants well, and hope they change the world.