The Car

Early in the 21st century, Luke had let his utility power purchase contracts expire. The government had attempted to deregulate utilities under the Clinton administration at the turn of the century but the effort came to naught. Deadly California power shortages and the government takeover of power plants in the West were already strengthening the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) stranglehold on government. Luke had operated his hydroelectric sites on the Ware River under ownership exemptions from FERC licensing. Hybrid vehicles became commercially successful in the first decade of the Millennium. Luke found he could earn more making hydrogen and charging vehicles at his power plants than he could by selling power to the grid. Beside that, he made a healthy income in repairs.

When the government imposed martial law in the twenties, FERC took over all power plants selling power to the grid. Since Luke was not selling power to the grid under a FERC license, FERC did not confiscate his sites. He also got assistance from local officials who owned most of the vehicles and who were dependent on him for fuel.

By the time of martial law, Luke was well known for his development of the electric flywheel or what we today call the accumulator. I ran across some correspondence to his sister in Luke's files. Here, I'll recall it to your implant.

Sent 5/7/2006

To - wright@goldman/

From -

Dear Sarah,
Bill Fay and I have made significant progress in the development of the solid state circuitry for the armature of our electric flywheel. It has performed well in our most recent tests, but we are limited to 40,000rpm with the 20 horsepower model. Bill and I agree that we will have to reach 40 hp at 60,000 RPM with our current design. Our gimbaled vacuum vessel and magnetic bearings are quite adequate for this size rotor. Davis Hobbs has found a NASA supplier, Gimco, who can mold the circuitry in a ceramic medium guaranteed to withstand resultant vector forces up to 100,000 rpm. The price tag of $1,300,000 for a functional prototype floors me, but Gimco seems to be the only game in town. They refuse to speculate, but have contractually agreed to hold funds in escrow until we have functional units in hand. I will send copies of the contract under separate cover.
The Gimco agreement provides for 8 working rotors, which we will install in our 8 prototype vehicles. Retrofit should involve no more than the replacement of the rotor. If the new rotor performs satisfactorily, we will have a viable product on our hands. I know that you have people begging for the opportunity to invest in production, but venture capital for the remaining development (if it were possible to find in this small amount) would cost dearly. If you and Dagney have available funds to cover a couple of million, I think it would behoove us to self-finance this last hurdle. If we go outside for money now, we'll lose control of the whole enterprise. Look over the projections and contract and let me know what you think
Time is of the essence. I heard on the news that Honda's new line will include a model with an optional mechanical flywheel. I don't know why they haven't thought to make their flywheel into an electrical armature like ours. They loose so much accumulated power in the mechanical speed increase and reduction that it is hardly worth pedal or solar power input. Also their mechanical flywheel in reality does nothing to decrease storage battery size. We are currently running a 130-mile range with our 20-hp model and expect to exceed 200 miles on the 40-hp model. This with a total battery package of only 940-Amp/hrs

Sarah, please take my warnings about exposure to the sun seriously. My friend Fred Prybeck writes from Tasmainia that the ozone situation is much worse than we hear on the news. The population of his little town in Australia has been reduced by over half. Almost all of the remaining residents have active lesions, and all including Fred have numerous scars from melanoma removal. No one in the country is active during the day without complete body coverings. All but essential outdoor activity takes place at night.
I now enforce a strict dawn to dusk curfew at the farm for all but the most necessary activities. You may think me alarmist as does most of Hardwick, but I'd rather err on the safe side. Anecdotal evidence indicates epidemic Melanoma in Vermont, but there is hardly a word on the news about it. Massive fires in the Rocky Mountains and the latest atrocity of the Terrorist Wars make better headlines I guess. Sometimes I imagine that I can smell the smoke, and Kim blames the fires for Ellie's severe bouts of asthma on hazy days. It must really be bad outside in Georgetown these days.
Let me know what Dagney thinks of our proposal.