Monday, 25 November 2013 18:21

SEMA Supporter Neil Young Talks about his LincVolt Project: Repowering the American Dream

Neil Young has launched  a second career as an alternative fuel activist. Now he’s put his fame to work addressing media with a Green Performance Keynote at SEMA which featured his unique and still evolving LincVolt, a 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible powered by the UQM PowerPhase motor and controller system. The 59 Mark IV is an E85-burning plug-in hybrid. The technology under the giant hood is similar in concept to that in the Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle, but with a few significant differences.


A self-confessed lover of big cars, Young explained that his prototype was designed to show that you can still be enviromentally conscious and reduce CO2 emissions while you enjoy classic car comforts. Speaking without notes, which he disdains, Young described his LincVolt as the fastest comparable car in its weight class, although he declined to say how fast or how much it cost.
The LincVolt made its debut at SEMA in 2010 and, as Young has said since, it’s designed “to inspire a generation by creating a clean automobile propulsion technology that serves the needs of the 21st century and delivers performance that is a reflection of the driver’s spirit.”

The Lincvolt has an E85-capable Ford Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine that works with an onboard UQM 145-KW generator to charge the 21.4-kWh battery pack. From a Level 2 wall socket, the pack charges in about six hours, but the cellulosic ethanol in the tank can apparently charge the battery in approximately 60 minutes when the Lincvolt is idling. With a full battery, the car has a range of 50 miles and, thanks to a fuel economy rating of around 23.5 miles per gallon, the Lincvolt can go the distance: 400 miles without stopping.

“LincVolt focuses on ultra-low carbon emissions as value, not mpg,” says Young.

Young took the car on a cross-country trip in August, traveling from San Francisco to Washington, DC, with a stop at the tar sands in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, to raise awareness about the car, the technology and the dangers faced if alternative fuels aren’t adopted more widely.

Although he’s proud of his Canadian heritage, Young ignited a firestorm of controversy after his trip to the tar sands. It was perhaps to be expected when he was quoted as having said, “Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima. Fort McMurray is a wasteland.” He talks about his work on the project in last year’s New York Times’ best-selling book, Waging Heavy Peace.


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