NewEnergyNews: NEIL YOUNG ROCKING AN ELECTRIC CAR

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    Monday, June 09, 2008

    NEIL YOUNG ROCKING AN ELECTRIC CAR

    In 1971, after killings at Kent State University during a Vietnam War protest, Neil Young wrote Ohio:

    “Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'/We're finally on our own
    This summer I hear the drummin'/Four dead in O-hi-o…”

    Now he’s talking about a whole other kind of history. Young is financing (at upwards of $120,000) mechanic Johnathan Goodwin’s conversion of his gas guzzling 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible into an all-electric vehicle.

    Rocker Young: "Johnathan and this car are going to make history…We're going to change the world, we're going to create a car that will allow us to stop giving our wealth to other countries for petroleum….And we're going to do it right here in Wichita, a great place that I now love, where people know how to make things, and make things happen."

    Why is the veteran rock and roll star geared up about this project? 2 reasons. First, because he loves his cars: "…people are saying we should go to small cars, but I love big American cars with power…I asked Johnathan that first day if we could take a huge American car like this, 2 ½ tons, 19 ½ feet long, and make it so you could drive it without ever refueling. Something practical…And Johnathan said 'Yeah.' And that's what we're going to do."

    Second, because his motivation hasn’t changed all that much since 1971. He’s still trying to use his success to make the world a better place: "…I thought long ago you could change the world by writing songs. But you can't…Oh, you can inspire a few people, get some of them to change their thinking about something. But you can't change the world by writing songs…But we could change it with this car."


    The Rocker and The Car. (click to enlarge)

    Rocker Young working with Wichita mechanic on electric car
    Roy Wenzl, June 2, 2008 (Wichita Eagle via Kansas City Star)

    WHO
    Neil Young of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Buffalo Springfield; Johnathan Goodwin, car mechanic

    The Mechanic and The Car. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Goodwin is converting Young’s 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible into an all-electric vehicle.

    WHEN
    - Goodwin, born in 1971, started doing mechanics at age 6 by taking apart a lawn mower and putting it back together.
    - Young co-founded Buffalo Springfield in the mid-60s with Stephen Stills.
    - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young played at the first Woodstock concert in 1969.

    WHERE
    - It began in a Wichita, Kansas, car mechanic's garage.
    - The Goodwin-Young car shop is at Chautauqua and Douglas in Wichita.
    - Goodwin and Young plan to drive the electric car to Washington, D.C. to create interest.

    click to enlarge

    WHY
    - Young's hits include "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man" and "Cinnamon Girl" and "Rockin' In The Free World" and "Hey, Hey, My, My."
    - Young collects classic cars. He decided to find a way to convert them to fuel-efficient vehicles. He started looking into biodiesel conversion.
    - Young discovered Goodwin throught the mechanic’s appearance on the MTV show Pimp My Ride. Goodwin was at the time increasing the efficiency of a Hummer owned by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    - Young put up $120,000 to pay for the conversion.
    - Driving the Lincoln Continental from California to Wichita required 18 fillings of the gas tank at 9 miles per gallon.
    - Instead of a gas pedal, a knob in the back seat being turned accelerates the car. That leaves only 1 hand for steering the car, which has no power steering. The brake pedal is on the passenger side of the front seat.

    QUOTES
    - Goodwin, mechanic, who has never heard Neil Young’s music: "I figure I can hear it all from the mouth of the man himself when we get the car running and drive the country…We'll have to do something during all those miles."
    - Neil Young, about Wichita: "…a great place, a lot of good people."
    - Neil Young, about his car collection: "…I decided that it was stupid to own cars that just sit around and then pollute when I drive them."
    - Young, on the car’s performance in a recent test drive: "She was awesome…Her acceleration was incredible, she moved with hardly a sound; it was so quiet we could hear the wind through the tags of other cars."
    - Goodwin, on the car’s performance in a recent test drive: "Still needs a little work…"
    - Young, on his role in the electric car adaptation: "[Goodwin's] the brains…I'm just the cattle prod."

    5 Comments:

    At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It would take somebody like Neil Young who is open to new ideas to come up with a environmentally friendly solution. How about making these cars wheelchair transportable, too?

     
    At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I would like to see electric vehicles provided with solar panels on the roofs of their cars to recharge the batteries while parked on the streets and parking lots while at work or shopping. After work they will have fully charged batteries to go home on totally independent of any additional fuel supplies creating cost free solar energy travel.

     
    At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    does thing run? are there any utubes , with explanations?
    Sparky

     
    At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello there..this is Shanell and Michelle from Kansas. We met you outside of the Holiday Inn Express on I-70 and I-135 in Salina, Kansas. We now know who we met and are honored to have met you. Thanks for showing us your car and hope that you have a wonderful trip to Washington. God Bless.

     
    At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Caramarie said...

    That's awesome! I thought I saw Neil Young driving a car much like this one on the 101 just north of San Francisco in 1995 or 96. After he passed, I noticed the liscence plate said, "SGR MTN" Sugar Mountain is what I supposed. Now that I see this car, I am convinced it was him I saw!

     

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