Neil Young, yes that Neil Young, has a new gig and it has nothing to do with music. The Linc Volt project aims to “Repower the American Dream”, by proving that a zero-emission, electric vehicle is possible, economical and easy to implement. To that end Young and his team have been adapting Neil’s 1959 Lincoln Continental, using already existing technologies, into a self-charging electric vehicle, running on natural gas and getting 100mpg! They’re already up to 65mpg – remember a Lincoln Continental is a 2.5 ton vehicle.
By showing that todays cars can be adapted using clean technology Neil and crew are trying to show the way forward for the auto industry as a whole. As Neil recently said on the Huffington Post, “It is time to change and our problems can facilitate our solutions. We can no longer afford to continue down Detroit’s old road. The people have spoken. They do not want gas guzzlers (although they still like big cars and trucks). It is possible to build large long-range vehicles that are very efficient. People will buy those vehicles because they represent real change and a solution that we can live with.”
And the innovation doesn’t just stop with the car. Linc Volt has teamed up with SalesForce to set up a new site at lincvolt.force.com which uses SalesForce technology to build community around the project. Site visitors can submit ideas and vote on other user’s ideas – the most popular of which will get incorporated into the project (if possible). Visitors can also share photos of themselves and their cars – cars they’d like to Linc Volt when the project is finalized. In a sense, Neil and crew are crowd-sourcing innovation. It’s a great move, especially in what they would like to turn into a grassroots movement.
You can see the car and hear Neil talk about it at this SalesForce event here. It’s a bit infomercial-like, but the technology is fascinating and the car is absolutely a work of art.
For more on the Linc Volt project, read our feature “Motorhead Messiah” from 2007.
By Jared Seltzer, Founding Partner of Rad Campaign