Foam Car Falls Short in Bid for $10 Million Prize

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Seems Progressive Insurance does more than just generate commercials featuring that frighteningly peppy crimson-lipped lady. 

They’re also the primary sponsors of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize, a competition offering $10 million for the best vehicle capable of achieving 100 miles per gallon.  This year, one design in particular has sparked considerable interest… Why? It’s made of foam.

The vehicle is called the Spira4u and was developed with the intention of not only saving gas, but saving lives.  According to the car’s developers, more than 50% of fatalities on the road in large cities and developing countries are pedestrians and motorcyclists.  Built of foam, the Spira4u is intended to create a safer option “both for occupants and impacted persons” says Lon Ballard, Spira’s founder.

Unfortunately, after advancing to fifteen finalists, the Spira4u was disqualified from the competition (as its miles per gallon rate was unable to maintain over 100 for city driving).  Despite disqualification, Spira is not discouraged.  Ballard has maintained that Spira’s Spira4u has the potential to be produced commercially for $3,000.

Not a bad deal for a car that gets nearly 100 miles to the gallon.  But would you drive a car made of foam?

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