Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!) (lynxreign) wrote,
Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!)

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I keep seeing this news blurb mentioning that the federal government is going to be offering a 30 million dollar prize to the first company that makes an electric car that can go 40 miles on a charge. It may be to the first to market such a car. I have several problems with this.

  1. 30 million? Why not hand them a dollar and a certificate of participation. That's nothing in the world of car manufacturing, especially when you're asking them to do something completely different from what they're used to. Maybe a small company will get it? Then it isn't really going to change anything.
  2. GM has already announced plans to make exactly this car. Why not just announce that you're going to give GM $30,000,000 in 2010?
  3. 40 miles. That's as ambitious as you're going to be? There's another smaller company out there with a car that can go 200 miles on a charge. Lets just give the prize to whatever company can come out with a car that gets 30 MPG.

There's more that annoys me about this, but that's enough for now. Instead, how about what I've envisioned a prize like this should be. I've been thinking of an incentive program like this for awhile and here's what they need to do:

  1. A 1 BILLION dollar prize for the first company to sell 100,000 cars that get 100 MPG
  2. A 1 BILLION dollar prize for the first company to sell 100,000 cars that produce 0 tailpipe emissions
  3. A 1 BILLION dollar prize for the first company to sell 100,000 cars that use no gasoline at all

To make things interesting, you can have a second billion dollar prize for each of those for the first company to sell 250,000. 3-6 billion is a drop in the bucket for the federal government, but still a lot for even GM. Think the limits are too low? Fine, bunp them to 250,000 and 500,000. Have a lower prize for 100,000.

This way you reward companies for making something that actually gains traction in the marketplace, not just something they whip up and then hide.

No idea what this does to Batman. (Sorry, I just love the phrase!)

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