Johnathan Goodwin via Wichita Eagle
Remember when Henry Ford revolutionized the world with his T-model Ford assembly line car? Ok, we don’t either. But it was the most influential car of the 20th century. One morning everyone was on horseback, the next morning everyone was riding around in the T-model car.
Well what if we told you that the most influential automobile man of the 21st century might just be revolutionary rocker Neil Young? What if we woke up one day and everyone was driving an electric car?
Neil Young was the voice of a generation during the Vietnam War, writing songs of protest. He’s proven once again that he has a heart of gold, taking the initiative on turning his (get this!) 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible into an electric car.
An electric car uses energy stored in a rechargeable battery pack instead of an internal combustion engine (ICE). (Hybrid vehicles are not pure electronic cars because they typically use both electric power and ICE modes.) Electronic cars, depending on how their electricity is produced, reduce dependence on foreign petroleum, decrease or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, and do not produce noxious fumes. On top of that, they’re quiet and can even accelerate beyond typical cars.
Neil has teamed up with Johnathan Goodwin, a Wichita mechanic known for re-engineering cars to get more horsepower with less fuel. The duo aim to make their Continental the model for the world’s first affordable mass-produced electric-powered automobile.
"The technology to make a practical and affordable electric car has been around for a long time," Goodwin told the Wichita Eagle. "There are all sorts of ways of doing it and all sorts of ways to work out how to make it work on a national scale."
The documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? hypothesized that big business and politicians squashed the electric car concept, which could have been as commonplace as sliced bread. But it turned out to be too threatening to the oil industry.
Young set out to build a biodiesel car, but switched to make electric cars more mainstream. He may finally be able to reach the masses, even more so than he has been able to do through his music.
"You know, I thought long ago you could change the world by writing songs,” he said. “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." That is one dream we hope to wake up to.
Neil Young via Wichita Eagle