That Thorium Car is Nonsense!

Yes, I’m afraid it is.

Charles Stevens of Laser Power Systems maybe got a little carried away by his work on a turbine/electric generator system powered by an “accelerator-driven thorium-based laser”, and created this sleek looking car that would only need a single refill of 8 grams in 100 years! A miracle!

Unfortunately, we presently know of no way a car could drive on thorium. To get energy out of thorium, you need a molten salt reactor. To see one working you’ll have to wait till around 2024. And nobody is planning to build that in into a passenger car. It just wouldn’t be practical.

It looks pretty cool though – did Jeremy Clarkson ever comment on it?


What if Charles Stevens would have said ‘this car could drive for a hundred years on the energy made with 8 grammes of thorium’. In that case: would his math have been right?

It’s easy to check. Elsewhere on this site you’ll find a similar calculation, that states that 650 grams of thorium equals 5.694.000 kWh. Let’s say that Stevens’ car has the specs of a Tesla Roadster, which kan drive 390 kms with a 70kWh battery. 8 grams of thorium equals roughly 70.000 kWh, which equals 390.000 km’s, which is not really a long way to drive in 100 years. Looks like Charles forgot a zero somewhere.

So allas folks, you really need a once-in-a-lifetime refill of a full 80 grams of thorium to drive a Tesla Roadster 39.000 km’s each year, for 100 years.

Now does that really disappoint you?