by Robert Wilkinson
Yes, THE Neil Young, Mister musical pioneer and icon, friend of farmers everywhere and radical independent thinker, has dedicated himself to creating a better automobile. This guy is into pushing technology ahead despite the usual boring views on what can and cannot be done. What you're about to read is exciting. Maybe we should petition Congress to make him a "Czar" of the American auto industry? I'll bet it wouldn't cost us $25 billion to get the job done!
He decided to go for creating a new type of automobile, one that in his own words, will "eliminate roadside refueling." You can read more about it in the recent NY Times article Long May You Run: Neil Young’s Eco-Lincoln." From the article:
...Mr. Young, the iconoclastic godfather of grunge, has assembled a team to turn a nearly 20-foot-long, 5,000-pound 1959 Lincoln Continental into a vehicle that will run on natural gas, electricity or some other form of clean energy. His aim is to win the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize, a $10 million challenge to develop a vehicle that can get 100 miles per gallon or better by 2009.
He’s calling the project Linc Volt and he picked that Lincoln from his collection because it was his “favorite of the craziest and most out-there designs that American automobile manufacturers had come up with,” Mr. Young said. “I thought it would be a good poster child for the latest in technology.”
You can watch videos on You Tube about the project featuring the Linc Volt Hot Rod Lincoln. What's so innovative about his project is this (from the same NYT article):
...Mr. Young said he would share whatever his team comes up with, so that others could build on their work. His Shakey Pictures is producing a documentary on the project, and he’s putting much of the video online as the project moves along ... He said the car would also be linked to the Internet, so its vital statistics could be piped online in real time during each test drive.
“It’s a reality car show,” Mr. Young said. People will be able to see what mileage the car is getting, how it’s doing at different altitudes, how much battery life is left and how the generators are working.
“Lots of people will be able to pick up data from the Web site, and maybe learn from it and put it in their own projects,” he said. “The idea is to share the knowledge over the Internet and share the experience.... It’s an inclusive approach, rather than a secretive approach.”
Mr. Young said the information should run two ways. “We’re going to have an innovation gallery,” he said. “People can submit ideas, talk about them and vote which ones are best.”
This is yeehaw engineering at its best! And we may just have a great machine before we know it. Oil is obsolete!!
© Copyright 2008 Robert Wilkinson