Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on December 2, 2007
The American auto industry giants just took another big hit. This time it didn’t come from the latest Japanese or German invention that gets better mileage on a smaller engine; the hit comes from a guy in his garage in Witchita, Kansas: Johnathan Goodwin. He is making America’s biggest, hulking SUVs more efficient, less polluting, and beefier on the horsepower.
How’s he doing it? His latest project, according to fastcompany online, turns a jet turbine into a super-efficient battery charger – in a Hummer. The jet doesn’t drive the powertrain – sorry Batman fans – it chips in only when the “supercapacitor” batteries are running low. These batteries kick, providing over 600 horsepower (over 2 times the gas engine). Fuel efficiency? Burning biodiesel, it runs about 60 mpg. Goodwin also incorporates a hydrogen-injection system that cuts in half the already-decreased biodiesel exhaust, creating the meanest, greenest thing I’ve seen.
Goodwin has influential people taking notice. He is working on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Jeep, for example. Goodwin also teamed with Neil Young’s 1959 Lincoln Continental to create a plug-in hybrid/biodiesel that crosses the 100 mpg threshold. The Linc-Volt was released just last week and Young is using it to raise awareness of feasible alternatives to gasoline. The news even made it onto CNN and Young plans to make a movie about the car’s conversion.
So, where’s the rub? Honestly I haven’t found any.
Although Goodwin and H-Line Conversions are making only custom conversions one car at a time, I don’t see anything preventing Detroit from adopting this technology to make all cars more efficient and less polluting. If we must drive SUVs, then these are the ones we need – no more 9 mpg behemoths. Change, however, takes time — and unless Washington gets serious about increasing fuel efficiency standards (the “goal” is 35 mpg by 2010 – on cars only), save your money and give Johnathan a call.
Check out a video interview with Goodwin here.