Back in 2009, Loren Kulesus – a very imaginative digital designer – came up with a very strange looking concept called the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept. While its exterior dimensions were certainly notable, it’s the stuff that powered it that really made waves – or lasers, rather.
The key energy source is a mildly radioactive metal, and one of the most dense materials known in nature, thorium. The thorium would be used to power a laser, which would then heat water, creating steam that turned a small turbine and propelled the car.
While some laughed at the concept (Top Gear even called it the Cadillac WTF Concept), a few others took Kulesus’ idea quite seriously, specifically Laser Power Systems (LPS) from Connecticut.
LPS has created its own thorium engine, which, according to Industrytrap, weighs around 500 pounds and could power a car for 100 years on only eight grams of thorium, thereby supplanting more than 7,396 gallons of gasoline over a century. And that’s just in one vehicle.
Just like the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept, LPS engine isn’t quite ready for a road trip. The company has reportedly been prepping prototypes since 2011. To our knowledge, however, no actual thorium-powered car has hit the road yet. We reached out to LPS for an update but CEO Dr. Charles Stevens didn’t “have time to comment.”
We’re quite intrigued by the technology, though, so we’ll be sure to stay on top of it. Be sure to check back for updates, albeit every few years.
- 44 teams just completed a solar car race across Australia
- Volkswagen’s Golf R 400 Concept storms Beijing with (not quite) 400 horsepower
- Mercedes-Benz previews future BMW X6 rival in Concept Coupe SUV form ahead of Beijing
- Fomm Concept One floating electric car takes the shock out of flooded roads
- Meet the Panamera’s daddy: Porsche 989 sedan concept