In a recent interview with Forbes Autos Ben Harper discussed America’s love for their cars and his own desire for an ecological balance to satisfy his functional needs in a car with the hope for a hybrid solution. It seems in this case that the eclectic musician is wrestling with the same conflict that many of us have: how do we satisfy our auto lust with an environmental ride emphasis?
For his own needs Ben Harper has three cars in his garage, and two of those are hybrids. To service his wife and kids and his surfing he sports the Toyota Highlander Hybrid or their Lexus RX 400h. Both cars retain the versatility of an SUV a family needs while providing greater fuel economy for the environmentally concerned. Ben Harpers third car is a 1964 Buick Riviera.
To bring his classic Buick in-line with his other two hybrid Ben Harper is considering a couple viable options. The first option would be to go EV and pack the classic with batteries and an electric motor. However, that heavy metal body and frame loaded down with the necessary batteries to motivate it down the road could become inhibitive. The second option he mentioned was to convert the car to run on corn oil. Then again such a conversion would require an engine swap from an unleaded engine to a diesel. A cheaper (not that money is the issue for him in this case) solution might be to make the slight modifications to run his Buick and its current engine on ethanol. Then he could take that one step further and buy a still to make his own alcohol… I mean ethanol.
Do not get the impression that this folksy-blues man is growing soft in his pursuit of green autos. The rocker within Ben Harper still has a love for a thrilling ride. You can almost imagine his face lighting up as he discussed his recent test drive of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG. In his own words he referred to the car as a “flying a spaceship.” However just shortly after he praised after his “insane” test drive and for its “tight” design he was quick to return to his desire to be “responsible.”
Just like Ben Harper there are many of us seeking out a proper solution for our auto dilemmas. Our hearts are pulling for a car that is environmentally friendly while our guts are yearning to be turned inside-out by the next great torque machine. Until cars like the Tesla Roadster and the Toyota FT-HS become readily available and affordable it seems as though many of us will have some very tough decisions to make on our next car purchase.