Faster car with greater fuel mileage with E-Charger

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Most of us probably would like our cars to be more powerful, yet more efficient at the same time.

This week, one Wichita inventor is taking his automotive magic to Las Vegas to draw attention to his locally-built product called the E-Charger.

SEMA, or Specialty Equipment Market Association, is the largest specialty trade show. It's where Johnathan Goodwin hopes to catch eyes with his modified 1957 Pontiac Chieftain. Goodwin described SEMA as "heaven on earth for automobiles."  

Over the years, Goodwin has been called upon by celebrities to modify their vehicles.  He's worked on the cars of such celebrities as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Allen and rocker Neil Young.  

Goodwin said people would often ask, "You can do this stuff for rich and famous people; what can you do for me to increase my efficiency of my vehicle?"

So Goodwin put his hybrid E-Charger on the old Pontiac.  He's entering it in SEMA's "Battle of the Builders."  It's a contest of the top auto customizers from across the country.

Goodwin explained the E-Charger, powered by batteries in the trunk, assists the gas engine. "The more it helps the gas engine do its job, the less amount of work the gas engine has to do. So what happens is, obviously, your fuel efficiency goes up and your emissions go down. And you've got an extra 150 horsepower."  

Goodwin expects comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno to take a look at his car, and perhaps put it in a segment of his cable show, Leno's Garage. "He loves cool, crazy things like that," Goodwin said. "And this hopefully will be one of the vehicles on an upcoming episode next year."

For now, Goodwin's E-Charger isn't cheap, costing about $5,000 for installation. But Goodwin thinks it can pay for itself, especially for those with higher gas consuming vehicles such as SUV's, with gas savings over three to four years.   

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