Neil Young, Java Creator James Gosling Hatch Java-Enabled Hybrid Car

Well-known rocker Neil Young and Sun Microsystems' James Gosling, the creator of Java, are working on a Java-enabled, hybrid-electric Lincoln convertible to compete for the Automotive X Prize, a competition for 100 MPG vehicles. The Linc Volt, Young's entry in the X Automotive Prize competition, is a 1959 Lincoln Continental Mk IV that has been repowered with a new series-hybrid system and runs on electricity produced by a generator powered by natural gas.

A couple of Canadian-born superstars in their own diverse fields, rocker Neil Young and the "Father of Java," Dr. James Gosling of Sun Microsystems, found some common ground Nov. 11 at Sun's Menlo Park, Calif., campus.

For about 14 months, Young, a longtime resident of nearby La Honda, has been working with a team from Wichita, Kan., to develop the Linc Volt, a hybrid electric/CNG (clean natural gas) car that uses a natural-gas piston engine to keep it charged up when it's on the road. According to the Linc Volt project's Web site:

"The Automotive X Prize, a competition for 100 MPG vehicles, has been announced and the Goodwin Young "Linc Volt" team has had its "letter of intent" to participate accepted. A qualifying race will be held in 2009 and the final race from California to Washington D.C. will take place in 2010."

The Linc Volt is a classic 1959 Lincoln Continental Mk IV that has been repowered with a series-hybrid system and now runs on electricity produced by a natural-gas-powered generator.

Neil Young takes the Linc Volt hybrid car for a spin. Click here to see the images.

Java is playing a major part in this project. Perrone Robotics has installed sensors that use Java technology to monitor performance elements of the Linc Volt as it travels down the road. This data is displayed on a touch-screen panel in the car. The controls let the driver keep tabs at all times on how good the electrical charge is, how much natural gas fuel remains and other real-time information. The GPS on board also keeps the driver informed about the location of the nearest source of natural gas.
Read more about the Linc Volt on Sun Microsystems' Web site.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...