Thursday, June 4, 2009

Motorhead Messiah - Jonathan Goodwin

It’s hard to summarize all the things that Jonathan Goodwin has been doing with cars, but it’s all really very exciting. And when I say very exciting, I really mean VERY exciting.

He has been converting many large vehicles to be both fuel efficient, and more powerful, at the same time! No trade offs here. Kind of like, twice as fast, with half the work.

His website says that he routinely modifies large “Hummers from gasoline, 325 hp, and 8-12 mpg to eco-friendly biodiesel 650+ horsepower and around 25 miles per gallon.”

One project has been to modify a '65 Chevy Impala, and when the conversion was done, he'd doubled its mileage to 25 mpg and increased its pull from 250 to 800 horsepower.

It was so powerful it actually beat a Lamborghini on the racetrack. Who would have ever thought???

When not modifying Impalas and Hummers into powerful fuel efficient diesels, he is experimenting with a lot of new ideas: converting large vehicles into plug in electric hybrids, lithium ion batteries, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, and turbine engines!

One project is to turn a Hummer into an electric hybrid. But instead of using a diesel engine to charge the batteries, it will use a turbine engine, that you might otherwise find in a military helicopter. “Whenever the truck's juice runs low, the turbine will roar into action for a few seconds, powering a generator with such gusto that it'll recharge a set of "supercapacitor" batteries in seconds.” He estimates that the truck’s horsepower from 300 to 600. Cool!

As far out as all this sounds, Goodwin says that he uses mostly off the shelf parts from GM. And that "Detroit could do all this stuff overnight if it wanted to."

"I can go next door to Ace Hardware and buy a DC electric motor, go out to my four-wheel-drive truck, remove the transmission and engine, bolt the electric motor onto the back of the transfer case, put a series of lead-acid batteries up to 240 volts in the back of the bed, and we're good to go. I guarantee you I could drive all around town and do whatever I need, go home at night, and hook up a couple of battery chargers, plug one into an outlet, and be good to go the next day.

Jonathan’s other big project is the Lincvolt, which is intriguing enough to have it’s own entry.


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