Rocker Neil Young has spent years converting a 1959 Lincoln Continental into a turbine-charged electric hybrid, even releasing a green-car song album. Last week, a fire at his California warehouse severely damaged the LincVolt. The apparent cause? The LincVolt's charger.
Earlier this month, Young showed off the LincVolt at SEMA, and gave a talk about his passion for the project. The LincVolt used two turbines burning biodiesel, with one micro-turbine dedicated to charging 850 lbs. of lithium-ion batteries. Young's team had said the LincVolt could travel 50 miles on electric power alone, even though it weighed 6,200 lbs.
Last Thursday, firefighters in San Carlos, Calif., responded to an alarm at Young's warehouse around 2:55 a.m. In addition to several vehicles, the blaze threatened Young's other memorabilia, including guitars and recordings.
In a statement on the LincVolt's webpage, Young says the fire's cause is still being probed:
Lincvolt was severely damaged in the fire. We are still investigating the exact cause although it appears to be an operator error that occurred in an untested part of the charging system.
We do know that the car has been operating perfectly for almost 2 thousand miles and the system in question would not be in use while driving the car. We are investigating the components involved with plug-in charging.
Young also said the LincVolt's computer might hold some clues to the cause of the fire, and that he and his crew would begin cleaning the LincVolt to see the damage done. (Fire photo: Noah Berger, AP) [LincVolt]