Two of the biggest energy-related stories of late have been the push toward alternative automotive fuels and a newfound enthusiasm for nuclear power. What better time, then, to dust down the blueprints for the Ford Nucleon, a nuclear-powered concept car that was developed in the late 1950s?
The Nucleon got its thrust from a small onboard nuclear reactor in the form of a radioactive core suspended between twin booms to the rear of the driver. The Nucleon' passenger compartment featured a one-piece, pillarless windshield and compound rear window, and was topped by a cantilever roof. Ford claimed that the car had a potential range of up to 5,000 miles--depending on the size of its core--after which it would need to be recharged at a dedicated charging station.
According to Ford's Web site, the Nucleon demonstrated the manufacturer's "unwillingness to admit that a thing cannot be done simply because it has not been done."