Firing up for a New Start

Neil Young's hybrid electric convertible, LincVolt, damaged in fire
By Erin Voegele | December 20, 2010
A statement released by rock music legend Neil Young makes it clear that the fire was not caused by any component of the car itself. It was human error. "The car was plugged in to charge and left unattended," he says. "The wall changing system was not completely tested and had never been left unattended. A mistake was made. It was not the fault of the car."

Within days preparations were already being made by the LincVolt team to rebuild the zero-emission 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible. The vehicle is a diesel-electric hybrid that uses a biodiesel-powered microturbine engine to recharge batteries that power an electric motor, and can travel a range of more than 400 miles, getting 80 miles a gallon.

"The reason we started this project has not changed," Young says. "As a nation, we are still excessively burning fossil fuels, doing damage to our plant that will hurt our children's lives and future generations as well. We're still in a race against time. On a project like this, setbacks happen for a reason and we can see that very well from here. 'Barn's burnt down. Now I can see the moon.'"

The Capstone Micro-Turbine survived the fire, and the UQM prime mover. "The underbody of the car appears to be essentially unchanged," Young says. "The engines are both made in the U.S. These are encouraging signs. Lincvolt is ready for the next chapter and the next ride. The mission's unchanged."
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