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Dreamforce: Neil Young shows off his green machine

The legendary rocker makes a special appearance at's annual conference to talk about his 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible that runs on electric batteries and compressed natural gas.

Legendary rocker Neil Young made a special appearance during's Dreamforce conference keynote address. He didn't mention cloud computing, but talked about his 1959 Mark IV Lincoln Continental.

Neil Young and Marc Benioff Stephen Shankland/CNET News

Young has spent more than $100,000 to green his 5,000-pound "Thinkin' Lincoln" former gas hog. "It's a piece of America art," said Young, who is an avid car collector. He hopes to get the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon and take the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. "We are over halfway there (to 100 mph) with this car," he said.

"We took Ford, GM, and Chrysler and instead of having them in one building, we have it on the Internet. We are always getting input from our huge virtual shop," Young said.

Young has focused his green car efforts on the electric grid, which he said can support 180 million vehicles and compressed natural gas. Young is working with Johnathan Goodwin, who has expertise in turning big cars into green cars. The car can run on electricity for short runs and on compressed natural gas for longer trips. A generator recharges the battery when it is using alternative fuels.

The engine is a 150-kilowatt electric motor that produces the equivalent of 500 horsepower. The car cruises at 80 mph and can reach speeds of 160 mph, Goodwin said. "It's essentially like a train. We use one motor to push it down the road, with a range of 80 to 100 miles." A generator, that produces 75 kilowatts, comes on automatically to power a rotary engine that runs on compressed natural gas and refuels the batteries.

"We want to eliminate roadside refueling and take distribution out of the loop," Young said. The energy generated by the car could be used to power several houses or power tools from a car, he added. Information is available at the LincVolt Web site.

The LincVolt 1959 Lincoln Continental Stephen Shankland/CNET News

Check out the video from The Wichita Eagle, featuring Goodwin, who developed the hybrid technology and Neil Young.

See also: Neil Young on gas guzzlers: Long may you run