Saturday, April 26, 2003

Oil industry suppressed plans for 200-mpg car

Times Online.com, By Simon de Bruxelles, The original blueprints for a device that could have revolutionised the motor car have been discovered in the secret compartment of a tool box. A carburettor that would allow a car to travel 200 miles on a gallon of fuel caused oil stocks to crash when it was announced by its Canadian inventor Charles Nelson Pogue in the 1930s. But the carburettor was never produced and, mysteriously, Pogue went overnight from impoverished inventor to the manager of a successful factory making oil filters for the motor industry. Ever since, suspicion has lingered that oil companies and car manufacturers colluded to bury Pogue’s invention. Now a retired Cornish mechanic has enlisted the help of the University of Plymouth to rebuild Pogue’s revolutionary carburettor, known as the Winnipeg, from blueprints he found hidden beneath a sheet of plywood in the box. Patrick Davies, 72, from St Austell, had owned the tool box for 40 years but only recently decided to clean it out. As well as drawings of the carburettor, the envelope contained two pages of plans, three test reports and six pages of notes written by Pogue ... The announcement of Pogue’s invention caused enormous excitement in the American motor industry in 1933, when he drove 200 miles on one gallon of fuel in a Ford V8. However, the Winnipeg was never manufactured commercially and after 1936 it disappeared altogether amid allegations of a political cover-up. Dr Murray Bell, of the University of Plymouth’s department of mechanical and marine engineering, said he would consider trying to build a model of the Pogue carburettor. Engineers who have tried in the past to build a carburettor using Pogue’s theories have found the results less than satisfactory. Charles Friend, of Canada’s National Research Council, told Marketplace, a consumer affairs programme: “You can get fantastic mileage if you’re prepared to de-rate the vehicle to a point where, for example, it might take you ten minutes to accelerate from 0 to 30 miles an hour.”

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