5 Sexy Alternative Fuel Cars We Love
by Jen Pennington
Photos by Robert J. Pennington
This year at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (SEMA) 2009 show in Las Vegas, there seemed to be a great gathering of beautifully customized and enhanced Mustangs and Camaros. All I can say is, what Mustang or Camaro isn’t sexy with a body like that? But to most motorheads what makes a car sexy is what’s under the hood, and in some cases, what’s in the tank. So we thought we’d pick five of our favorite alternative fuel cars from elegant EVs and beefy biodiesels to hybrids with horsepower. And for you Birkenstock-wearin’-moss-growin’-between-the-toes-greenie folks, feel free to indulge some secret lust after these “husky pups,” as my Dad used to say. These independent builders are definitely on the right track to foster the kind of sustainable technology we need for the future.
Sexy is Classic – The 912 “911E” Porsche
This 1976 Porsche was modified and restored by Sunshine State Restorations. This little blue beauty is powered by a NetGain Warp11 series-wound DC Electric motor. The car offers up the classic refined Porsche style with a robust 280 volts/1000 amp lithium ion battery bank (85 x 3.3 volt/100 amp hour). Fast, furious, and fabulous.
Sexy is Muscle – The SS Chevelle Biodiesel
If muscle is more your style, check out this restored and rebuilt 1970 SS Chevelle with a modified 6.6 Duramax Diesel GM Engine by Pacific Performance Engineering. PPE calls the car remarkably easy to drive with about 20,000 proven miles on it. Painted metallic green with black racing stripes this buff body is pumped up with biodiesel and ready to flex some new greener biceps.
Sexy is Beefy – The Pangaea Expeditions Land Rover Defender 110
This Land Rover is part of the Bio Bonatti Project by Pangaea and it’s setting out to prove that not all full-size SUVs need to be gas guzzlers. Starting with a military spec frame and drive train, the vehicle was built from the ground up with a focus on environmental responsibility. In fact the majority of this daily drive expedition vehicle was built using scrap parts. The fuel system was modified to run on a variety of fuels including diesel, biodiesel, synthetic diesel and waste vegetable oil. Of its many attributes, a Plant Drive Vegtherm heater allows the Land Rover to run waste vegetable oil below freezing and B100 (100% pure neat biodiesel, no diesel) down to about 20 degrees. What makes the Land Rover unique is the 1,600 mile round trip to SEMA from Colorado drove on a clean burning synthetic diesel/biodiesel blend. The company is hoping it will become a next-generation, completely sustainable biofuel. We love that this beefy off-road beast carries with it a low impact footprint.
Sexy is Shocking – The “Big Green” Regen EV Shocks
Sometimes it’s not the outside of the car that’s sexy, but a unique feature that draws all the attention. Such is the case with Physics Lab’s Regen-EV-Shocks on their “Big Green” Chevy Blazer. The SUV uses its shocks to generate electricity to the battery from the up and down motion of the vehicle as it travels down the road. A former X-Prize contender, the company’s mission is to retrofit heavy vehicles like, Suburbans, Rams, F-150s, military vehicles and railcars with renewable, regenerative technology on electric drivetrains. Creator Jim Stansbury was there to demonstrate the technology by using a light bulb and volt meter attached to an EV shock. A handle extended and contracted the shock up and down to generate voltage that lit a lightbulb. And oh yeah, did we mention the Blazer also had a Wind Turbine Inlet underneath and a solar Thermal Collector on top?
Sexy is Racy – American Le Mans Hybrid Racecar
This American Le Mans Zytek hybrid GZ09-SH by Corsa owner Steve Pruitt of Utah hopes to prove that hybrids make a whole lot of difference in the world of racing. The 4-liter gas engine/electric motor with a 70 lb battery translates into a bit more speed out of turns and less pit stops. With promising finishes against top competitors, the real race to watch is how this technology can turn the corner from the rigors of racing down to our lowly daily commutes.
Find more SEMA 2009 pictures at www.rhizomeimages.com