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.
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.