Ridiculously, in America, the only acceptable vehicles for a politician are either U.S.-built hybrids or an old pickup truck. In Finland, a parlimentary candidate is highlighting his 1987 El Camino converted to run on wood gas. Can we write in?
Juha Sipilä's "El Kamina" — "kamiina" means "stove" in Finnish — was built to highlight the potential for biofuels. The wood gas system is similar to ones that were widespread in Europe during World War II when oil was scarce. While loading chunks of wood into a tank seems like a mideval form of combustion, a properly engineered system can burn cleaner than a gasoline engine and travel a decent distance.
The El Kamina's system can power the car about 125 miles on a full 175-pound tank of wood chips, but the car itself could carry enough wood for 800 miles. While the wood gas and scrubbing system boosts the weight of the Kamina to 4,400 lbs., it can still manage a top speed of 87 mph. The system can also combine gasoline with wood gas in the 400-cubic-inch Chevy V8.
Sipilä says the El Kamina shows how homegrown biofuels could cut oil imports, and help pave the way for electric vehicles, especially ones built by hobbyists. And he's not alone; the Finnish society of cars converted to wood gas includes several pickups, the expected Saabs and Volvos, and even a Toyota Camry. This is one campaign we can heartily endorse.
H/T to Teukka!