Johnathan Goodwin is the patron saint of green cars (although as of yet, this honor has gone unrecognized by the Vatican). Last April, John was the guy behind the Chevy Impala conversion that smoked a Lamborghini in a quarter mile on the Earth Day special of MTV's Pimp My Ride. Arnold Schwarzenegger was so impressed that when he did a guest appearance on the Earth Day Pimp My Ride special, he hired SAE Energy (where John is co-partner) to make his Jeep run on biodiesel. Recently, John made the cover of Fast Company magazine for an article describing a green gearhead's wet dream.
Fast Company visited John's garage and found a 2005 Hummer H3 on jacks. John is going to put a 60,000 PRM, 1985, turbine, jet engine in the Hummer. The turbine engine will run on biodiesel or waste vegetable oil with a hydrogen-injector. John plans to make a series hybrid with this turbine engine. A beauty like that going to waste as a range extender? No, it charges a set of super capacitors in a matter of seconds, giving the car 600 horse power.
That's not all. Jon says "it'll get 60 miles to the gallon. With 2,000 foot-pounds of torque. You'll be able to smoke the tires. And it's going to be superefficient. ... Think about it: a 5,000-pound vehicle that gets 60 miles to the gallon and does zero to 60 in five seconds!" John is not just making drool worthy cars for stars like Neil Young (John is converting a 1960 Lincoln Continental to biodiesel, electric hybrid for him.) John said he wants to make a 100-mile-per-gallon car one day and he is working on a $5,000 conversion kit that make diesels run 50 percent more efficiently and emit 80 percent less pollution. John estimates his bolt-on kit will pay for itself in a year for bigger SUVs and two years for a normal car. He is getting patents hoping to license them to the big carmakers but he thinks automakers can do a lot more right now.
Go below the fold to see how John is using Ace Hardware better than you.
[Source: Fast Company]
John is clearly a genius and SAE Energy is doing really amazing things, but the conversions cost $28,000. I am no defender of the big automakers but I think they played up (just a little) the poor guy from Kansas. Without a high school education, John is a throttling loving environmentalist, showing GM things they thought were impossible at SEMA, and he just might save Detroit's image. John could probably slap together an electric car with parts from ACE Hardware (might not be a big seller, though). I also think the article is a little too hopeful about the future of diesel. Here are some quotes;
"They could do all this stuff if they wanted to. ... The technology has been there forever. They make 90% of the components I use... I've just been messing around and seeing what I can do. ... Everybody should be driving a plug-in vehicle right now. ... 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."
It does make you wonder why we have not seen at least mild hybrids sooner though. Anyway, John's turbine biodiesel, super capacitor, series hybrid Hummer is freaking cool!