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Being both a performance car guy and also active in green living, improving MPG, and weaning off fossil fuels, I'm more than a little excitable when my favorite musician decides to convert a classic car into an energy efficient vehicle. Add to that, the ability to monitor progress in the garage (and from the car itself), via the web, and I couldn't be more stoked about Neil Young's Lincvolt project. It's all about getting out there on the edge and doing something. Testing, failing, laughing it off, adjusting, and succeeding. It's classic performance car stuff. Lincvolt is a performance car. My 70 MPG car is a performance car. Efficiency is a measure of performance. And these days, being efficient can be a real rush. I truly appreciate Neil's willingness to share Lincvolt's evolution with us on the web. She's a proud car.
Now and then I'm able to capture some screen shots and audio of the Lincvolt project. I'll post them here for all to follow along or get a quick fix. For the sake of disclosure, I have done a bit of discretionary editing of the audio clips where I felt it was appropriate -- removing dead space, overheard personal phone calls, things like that.
I wanted to be at the Bridge School Benefit again this year but it just wasn't possible for me. Imagine my surprise when I tune into the Lincvolt stream, just hours before Saturday's gig, to find Neil in the garage with Lincvolt. They had decided to drive her to the Shoreline Amphitheater. There were several last minute preparations and a general 'seat of the pants' feel to the whole thing. But it was a gas taking a virtual ride in Lincvolt on this particular trip. Neil was getting to know the new systems and was obviously ready to head out and go. He looked like a kid in a candy store and wasted no time adjusting to the regenerative braking and controls.
But hang on. Let's backup a minute. Actually, let's backup a full day -- to Friday -- right before Neil's soundcheck for The Bridge School Benefit Concerts. Neil stops by the garage to check on Lincvolt and give us an update on the web. Although I missed much of the intended update, there was a lot of good info to follow in this segment, so you won't want to miss it. Plus you'll get some practice using the audio player...
OK, back to Saturday. This all begins in the shop at Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco, where Johnathon and Uli have been working on the car. Neil is going over Lincvolt. Asking about trim pieces that are missing and whatnot. I could be mistaken but I had sense that everyone but Neil thought they were going for a quick test drive before leaving for Shoreline Amphitheater. But Neil is ready to make the trip right now. Here's the setup; Johnathon Goodwin has backed Lincvolt out of the shop and now Neil is in the drivers seat. Johnathon is in the back seat monitoring things. There's also a laptop back there. (I assume this laptop is managing the webcast but I'm not certain.) L.A. Johnson is in the passengers seat, running a video camera. (Larry has been great about keeping us updated on the web and answering questions we ask. Thanks for that, Larry) Uli (The Scientist) is either ahead or behind them, driving Neil's Hummer. The audio drops out now and then, as did the video feed, due to losing their Sprint wireless connection in canyons and between towers.
OK, climb in and enjoy the ride!
The State of Linc Volt Update: Cruisin' To Shoreline...Almost
NOTE: The player buttons below only play the audio stream for that segment. Don't expect moving pictures. I don't have video for these.
Right to the Diamond Lane...In California, the "Diamond lane" is reserved for carpooling and green vehicles. Lincvolt belongs there.
"Do we learn anything from this ride?"Backing out of the shop and heading down the road for Shoreline.
"I'm doin' zero"Having worked on a lot of car projects, I can relate to this. Neil discovers that Lincvolt's speedometer is temporarily not functioning. And in the absence of the V-8 roar, there's a small electric fan breaking the silence. But no worries. Lincvolt is rolling down the streets under electric power! The Internet crowd (of 30) cheers them on.
"...she is groovin' "The rattles are mostly gone and Lincvolt lets the guys know she is enjoying the ride. Some cars do that. They do.