Posted October 9, 2021

The Brilliant Boy Billionaire

The Amazing Journey of a Remarkable Kid, by Altimexis

PART SEVEN – Midwestern Medley

Chapter 7: Superconducting Motors

“This is excellent,” Carl exclaimed as he enjoyed the spread of homemade breads, bagels, muffins, other pastries and an array of lox, smoked whitefish, cheeses, sweet-potato pancakes and homemade cookies of various kinds. In addition, breakfast included homemade granola with fresh fruit and yogurt, toasted homemade multigrain bread, freshly ground and brewed cappuccino and fresh-squeezed orange juice. It was a spread comparable to some of the continental breakfasts I’d had at the top hotels in Europe.

“So, what’s the agenda for today?” I asked.

“Well, like I said, we’ll go to the art museum, and that includes strolling the grounds of the old Lilly home and estate. We’ll tour the campus of Butler University, which has some nice spots for a romantic stroll, we’ll visit the Children’s Museum, which is the kind of place you could spend all day, we’ll go to Holiday Park and see the ancient ruins —”

“They have ancient ruins in Indianapolis?” I asked with incredulity.

“I think they were originally from Greece or maybe Turkey and brought here for all us Hoosiers to see,” Carl explained.

“The Brits used to do something like that,” I responded. “The wealthy would either have ruins brought in to show off on their estates, or they’d build their estates overlooking existing ruins. It looked rather tacky.”

“As do the ruins in Holiday Park, but it’s also a nice place for a stroll, and there are hiking trails that lead to overlooks of the White River,” Carl explained. “We’ll grab a snack at some point, probably at the Children’s Museum, and after visiting Holiday Park, we’ll head over to Broad Ripple.”

“I hear that’s a great place for nightlife,” I interjected.

“It’s a fantastic place for nightlife,” he agreed. “There are some excellent restaurants, too, so we’ll first grab an early dinner, then we’ll take in a show at The Vogue – I’ll get tickets – and then we’ll hit the clubs – at least, the ones that are gay-friendly and allow underage patrons. Finally, we’ll return here for another night of wild sex,” he whispered in my ear, causing me to blush.

“We have a choice,” he added. “We could drive in your car – you do have a car, don’t you? – ’cause I don’t.”

Laughing, I replied, “Yeah, I have a Tesla Model 3.”

“An electric! And you’ve been able to find charging stations on your trip?” he asked.

“Sometimes it’s a challenge, and sometimes I’ve found I had to go a bit out of my way, but seldom more than an hour or so in a day. The downtime’s not all that bad though. My car has a range of three hundred miles most of the year. When it’s below freezing, that can drop to as low as half as much, so it’s not the best car to take on a ski holiday, but even with the AC going full blast, it’s pretty close to three hundred. I try to recharge before I get much past 250 miles, so in a typical driving day, I need to recharge twice at most. Of course, we humans need to recharge, too. The only problem is that the selection of restaurants around Tesla fast-charging stations is often limited to fast-food joints.”

“That kinda sucks,” Carl said.

“My Tesla’s a few years old now, but I bought it new. The base model’s about $35k, which is similar to what you’d pay for a gas-powered car, but the range is really shitty. The next trim model adds all-wheel drive, and the range is now up to about 360 on a charge, and it costs about another $12k. That sounds expensive, I know, but it’s considered a luxury model with a standard leather interior, and the price is similar to a comparable Lexus or BMW. Mine is the performance model, which has much more powerful motors —”

“There’s more than one?” Carl asked.

“Electric cars don’t have transmissions ’cause electric motors have much better torque at lower speeds than do gasoline engines. So, rather than adding a drive train and gearing to get all-wheel drive, they simply add front and rear motors. What I’d like to see is true four-wheel drive, with a motor for each wheel, but the cost is prohibitive from what I understand. Perhaps with super­conducting ceramics, we can improve the efficiency enough to make it pay. I’ll have to try designing something myself.”

“You can do that?” Carl asked.

Sheepishly, I admitted, “I designed a super­conducting quantum supercomputer,” I explained. “The principles are very similar.”

“Is there anything you can’t do” Carl asked in jest.

“Girls,” I quipped, and we both laughed.

“So anyway,” Carl continued, “we actually do have a choice of modes of transportation. Everything I’ve planned is at most a few miles away and most of it is easily accessible by bikeway or path. The problem is that the kiosk bikes would be prohibitive to keep out all day, so we’d have to rent you a bike for the day. The bigger downside is that the Children’s Museum isn’t convenient by bicycle, and we’d hafta skip the clubbing, but the bikeways are real nice and I thought you might enjoy biking. The Monon Bike Trail’s pretty safe, but I’m not sure it’s worth chancing it at night, not just in terms of crime, but there are a lot of major roads to cross.”

“I have my bike with me. It’s a Raleigh mountain bike; it’s in the trunk of my car. I’d just have to put the wheels back on and check tire pressures, but under the circumstances, let’s take the Tesla.”

“Perfect,” Carl responded with a beautiful smile.

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We started the morning at the home of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the U.S., and then went to the Children’s Museum. Carl had been right; it was outstanding. Billed as the largest children’s museum in the world, highlights included the original Broad Ripple Carousel from 1917, a full-sized mock-up of a module from the International Space Station and a model railroad setup that practically took up an entire floor. Of course, most of the exhibits were intended for little kids, but there was plenty for big kids, too. After a light lunch, sharing an order of chicken quesadilla at the Children’s Museum food court, we headed to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The grounds were impressive, and the building with its signature fountain was beautiful. Not that the museum didn’t have works from top artists, but the collection wasn’t in the same league as the one at the Cincinnati Museum of Art, which was truly world class. Still, the museum was built on the grounds of the old Lilly Estate, which the family had gifted to the city specifically for the museum with the proviso that the grounds remain intact and unaltered. The mansion itself was typical of those owned by other nineteenth-century millionaires, but the grounds were exceptional. It would’ve been nice to have taken a stroll around the grounds and along the canal, but there was much we had yet to see.

Driving to the nearby grounds of Butler University. we strolled around the Holcomb Arboretum and Gardens, where we found a nice, secluded spot to make out a bit, but there was still a lot to see and do. On the way out, we drove by a large performing-arts center and by the Hinkle Fieldhouse, which was one of the oldest basketball arenas in the U.S. We drove up along the canal on Westfield Boulevard, crossing over it and the White River on Kessler Boulevard and then up to Spring Mill Road into what was obviously a very affluent, older suburb. When we got to Holiday Park, indeed there were ruins. Actually, it was a lovely little park with hiking trails that led to overlooks of the White River. From there, it was off to Broad Ripple, for good food, great entertainment and clubbing. We parked the car and walked around a bit, browsing in the shops and looking at menus. It was almost 6:00 and we needed to catch an early dinner before seeing a show at the Vogue. We were both starved.

I was particularly hoping to find a place that was right on the canal and was pleased when my Yelp app found a 4.5-star Mediterranean restaurant named, appropriately enough, Café Bistro. We started out sharing a traditional Mazza plate and an order of calamari as appetizers. Truthfully, there was enough food between them for dinner, but we were hungry teens – well, at least I was. We each then had a Greek salad, followed by salmon couscous, in my case, and the mixed grill, in Carl’s case. It was actually some of the best Mediterranean food I’d had outside the Middle East. We considered ordering the grilled pineapple or baklava for dessert, but there’d be more food at the clubs.

We had tickets to the night’s show at the Vogue, which was a classic movie theater that had been converted to a night club. The doors opened at seven, and it was already close to 7:30, so we ended up at a table toward the back, but we thoroughly enjoyed the show as I sipped a couple of drinks of Schweppes bitter lemon with lime juice and a twist of lime. After the show, we checked out The Brick House Dueling Pianos Bar, but they carded us and turned us away. Carl had gotten away with going dancing there many times in the past, but apparently, they’d been caught and heavily fined. Carl was almost 21, but almost wasn’t good enough. Next up was The Red Room, which allowed us in, but restricted us to the outside patio, which was fine with us. They had a live band with dancing and a decent spread of free food and overpriced non-alcoholic drinks.

We enjoyed ourselves very much until some rednecks started hassling us, which was when we decided it was time to leave. When they followed us, we were in no mood for a fight, so we ducked into Goodfella Pizzeria, which was open until midnight, giving us twelve minutes until closing. They were already tearing down the counter and cleaning up. I explained to the guy at the counter, who happened to be the night manager, that we’d been followed by a couple of guys who seemed intent on a little gay bashing. The manager actually gave us each a slice of Fuhgetaboutit, which was pizza topped with everything they had. It was huge and unbelievably filling. Not only that, but he boxed up and gave us a fresh whole large Bootlegger pizza, which was topped with spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and a dollop of pesto. It smelled incredible and would make a perfect lunch to take with us to the racetrack.

Lastly, the manager offered to walk with us to our car, but I feared the rednecks had waited for us and would follow us in their pickup and force us into the canal. Instead, he walked with us to Insomniac Cookies, a gourmet cookie bakery that was open until 3:00 AM. We were full, but I could always go for cookies. Oh, my god, they were good, too, and I couldn’t stop myself from pigging out. So did Carl. We polished off a dozen deluxe cookies between us, overdosing on one of each variety for each of us. We feasted on chocolate-peanut-butter-cup, s’mores, triple-chocolate, confetti, oatmeal-chocolate-walnut and salted-caramel cookies over the course of the next hour and a half. In the meantime, we had them bake more cookies for us to take with us when we left at 2:00 AM. The take-out included two boxes of a dozen classic cookies each, with four of each of our six favorite varieties, including chocolate-chunk, double-chocolate chunk, double-chocolate-mint, peanut-butter-chip, snickerdoodle and white-chocolate-macadamia. Finally, we headed back to the B&B, but after what happened with the rednecks, we actually fell asleep while making out. So much for earth-shattering sex.

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It felt as if we’d hardly slept at all when the phone rang at 7:30 to let us know that, in the absence of our stated preference, they’d taken the liberty of scheduling us for the first breakfast time of the morning – at 8:00. Fuck, on a Sunday? I could only hope I didn’t fall asleep at the racetrack. Carl and I took very fast showers and got dressed for breakfast, arriving in the dining room with our hair still wet. Again, the spread was incredible, with a choice of omelets made with organic, free-range eggs, a choice of meats, American fries, toasted homemade breads, fresh fruit and homemade granola with milk or yogurt. Carl ordered a traditional Western omelet with Canadian bacon and pork-sausage links, whereas I ordered a Greek omelet with egg whites, turkey sausage and turkey bacon. We both had half a ruby-red grapefruit as our fresh fruit.

After breakfast, Carl and I returned to my room to get ready to head to the racetrack. I requested a roll of wax paper and used it to individually wrap each of the twelve slices that were in the Bootlegger pizza from Goodfella’s last night. That made the pizza much easier to handle and eat at the track. I then wrapped the twenty-four cookies in four separate batches of six cookies each and loaded both the pizza and the cookies into my backpack. To that I added four sixteen-ounce bottles of water into the side pockets. I threw in a tube of sunblock, which we’d almost certainly need. The drive to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway only took fifteen minutes, so we arrived at the museum just as it opened at 9:00 AM. I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised that the museum was the equivalent of any hall of fame for any other sport. Added to that were memorabilia and antique race cars dating back more than a century. This was to be the 106th running of the Indy 500.

The director of the museum, who looked like he could have been at the first running of the race, was present that day. He insisted we call him Bob, and we started to talk about our plans for the day when he told us, “The race season has been shortened in recent years. The Indy 500 isn’t the only race that uses this track anymore. We now have NASCAR races and even Formula One races on our modified infield track, so we don’t have the luxury of allocating the track for a full month for any race, even the 500. The official opening day isn’t until Tuesday, May 19.”

“Shit, I’ll be long-gone by then,” I replied.

“Most of the drivers are already here, and if you stick around the track, you might find one of them up and about,” Bob said.

“I wouldn’t even recognize Mario Andretti,” I admitted.

“Mario Andretti is 82 years old,” Bob countered. “He retired from racing some time ago, although he’s still very active and works full time as a spokesperson and a businessman. There are three generations of Andretti’s now, with Mario’s grandson, Marco, being the latest.”

“Actually, I’m more interested in the technology of racing,” I replied. “I love all the old race cars in your museum.”

“Have you been to Auburn?” Bob asked.

“Auburn?” I asked. “What’s that?”

“Auburn, Indiana,” Bob explained. “It’s just outside of Fort Wayne. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is located there. It was the site of the original Auburn automotive factory. You won’t find many museums with a more extensive collection of vintage automobiles, all of them built by hand. It’s well worth the time if you’re anywhere near Fort Wayne.”

“I’ll be going right through Fort Wayne on my way to Toledo and Detroit, so I’ll have to make it a point to stop there,” I responded.

“You’ll be glad you did,” Bob replied.

“By the way, I noticed a display on Formula E racing, which I guess uses electric race cars. Is there a reason there are no electric race cars in the Indy 500?” I asked.

“Wow, how long do you have?” Bob asked. “Formula E racing has been around since 2011, but hybrid cars have been used in Formula One racing for some time. This is the first year that they’ll be using hybrid engines at the Indy 500. Hybrids are more useful in Formula One, because they race on a curvy track or even real city streets, and regenerative braking makes a huge difference in efficiency and handling. Indy cars don’t brake all that much, so there’s less power to recover on an oval track. Electric vehicles are improving all the time, however, and I expect that within a decade or perhaps even less, the Indy 500 will use all electric vehicles.

“Formula E has been a testing ground for electric vehicles. It’s only 45 minutes long, plus one lap, so the actual distance traveled isn’t nearly as long. With an average speed of 140mph, that amounts to a little over a hundred miles. Until recently, teams had to have two cars and they’d switch cars midway through the race to get the range they needed.”

“But my Tesla has a range of over 300 miles,” I commented.

“Ah, no wonder you’re interest in electric-car racing,” Bob responded. “Do you have a Model 3?”

“Yes, the performance model,” I replied. “It’s an incredible car.”

“Yes, it is, but I think the new ones now have a range of about 350 miles, and I expect we’ll see a range of around 500 miles within a few years.”

“That’s quite likely,” I agreed.

“More recently with Formula E, the range is enough to complete the race on a single charge,” Bob explained, “but with the steady increase in allowed power, the need to recharge has resurfaced. The new cars can use flash charging, which allows the batteries to be recharged in under a minute, making recharging comparable to refilling a gas tank.”

“Boy, that would be a game changer,” I responded. “I’d love to see that in the next-gen Teslas.”

“Don’t hold your breath, as the cost is currently way too high to be competitive,” Bob explained.

“Twice now, you’ve mentioned what’s allowed,” I asked. “Why is that? Why aren’t drivers allowed to race whatever they can engineer in a car?”

“As it is, auto racing is a rich person’s sport. NASCAR is expensive enough, but Indy cars are beyond expensive. Even a basic Indy car with a stock engine runs about a million, and to be competitive, you need to spend at least twice that much. It used to be unregulated, but then in the mid-1960s, a guy named Parnelli Jones put a gas-turbine engine from an airplane into an Indy car. It was crazy. He was way ahead of everyone else until near the end of the race, when his gearbox blew. It just couldn’t handle the torque of an airplane engine. The bigger problem was that his engine was hundreds of thousands of dollars. Very few drivers could afford that. That was the start of standardization. By standardizing race-car components or at least limiting the allowed characteristics, they kept auto racing competitive and winning based more on skill than technology.”

“Is there any reason an electric car with comparable specs couldn’t enter the Indy 500?” I asked.

“Again, it’s been talked about for years. Electric cars are inevitable, and auto racing has always been a way of pushing the envelope of technology. Gas turbines didn’t work out because they were far too expensive to be practical in commercial vehicles, let alone private cars. Now, there are new models of electrics coming out practically every month. Hell, Ford’s F-150 Lightning is supposed to be as powerful and capable as a V8 gas model. Electric buses already roam the streets of most major cities, achieving efficiencies that far exceed what’s possible in your Tesla, but they use hub-mounted motors and direct drive. You wouldn’t think of using four independent, hub-mounted electric motors in a private car —”

“Actually, I already have thought about that,” I replied.

“The problem is with the physics and the cost,” Bob explained. “Four motors would be much more efficient, since you could adapt to uneven terrain. You’d have true four-wheel drive. The trouble is that electric motors don’t generate much torque at low rotational speeds. In a city bus, which accelerates very slowly, that would’t be an issue, but in a private automobile and particularly in a high-performance race car, you’d need to use reduction gears. You wouldn’t need to change gears the way you do with a gas-powered engine, but you’d still take a major hit on efficiency and increase the cost by quite a bit —”

“Actually, with super­conducting motors, torque doesn’t depend on speed, so you wouldn’t need any gears,” I countered. “At Applazon, we’ve actually achieved the Holy Grail of room-temperature super­conductivity. It’s based on a mathematical model and a cyano­silicate matrix I helped to develop. We use a fully crystalline ceramic to achieve true anisotropic super­conductivity at temperatures of up to sixty degrees Celsius, but the crystals have to be a hundred-percent free of impurities, which drives up the cost considerably. However, the technology is scalable and the potential market for a super­conducting motor is huge. The crystal matrix for a super­conducting magnet would be significantly smaller than for the wafers used in computer servers, and of course, the design would be much simpler —”

After thinking about what would be involved for a minute or two, I continued, “I’m pretty sure I could build a custom super­conducting electric motor within the current specs for an Indy car – four motors, actually, with one for each wheel – at a competitive price,” I concluded. “Certainly, for less than two million.”

“You really think you can achieve costs that low with ceramic super­conductors?” Bob asked. “I used to work for Lockheed-Martin, and it would’ve cost us tens of millions of dollars to outfit a car with that kind of technology, if it were even available, and as far as I know, we’ve yet to solve the problem of winding ceramic wires onto an armature.”

“I’d use the Hall effect,” I replied. “We could use ceramic discs consisting of hexagonal, honeycomb arrays of super­conducting magnets. Ceramic super­conductors are highly anisotropic, and we can take advantage of that to channel the current and maximize the magnetic field. By using rotating phased currents, all computer controlled, the ‘armature’ could be nothing more than a ceramic disc with radial super­conductivity. You wouldn’t need permanent magnets ’cause the currents induced in the super­conducting disc would generate their own magnetic fields.

“You could build the whole motor into the wheel, with the motor housing being the part that spins and the axle remaining stationary. You wouldn’t dare do that with a conventional electric motor, ’cause the added weight of the motor would dramatically increase the power required. But with super­conducting ceramics, the added weight would be negligible. You’d bring power in via the fixed axle, and the bearings would be frictionless since the magnetic field would levitate the axle and center it within the wheel, so there’d be no need for lubrication and virtually nothing to wear out. Let me design a carbon-fiber reinforced tire and you won’t even need to change the rubber, but the cost of that might put it out of reach of most racing teams. Give me time and I’ll get the cost down to something more reasonable, though.”

“It sounds like you know what you’re talking about, but you don’t look like you’re a day over sixteen,” Bob commented.

“I’m nineteen, actually, and I have a Ph.D. in computer science,” I responded. “I designed Applazon’s latest couple of generations of data servers. The newest generation makes use of super­conducting ceramic quantum computing and runs on milliwatts per server. When I started at Applazon three years ago, their servers used about 500 watts each, most of which was wasted as heat, and they were glacially slow compared to even the first-gen servers I designed. I’m willing to bet I can get Jeff to invest in a new generation of cost-effective, super­conducting electric motors and in fielding race cars,” I concluded.

“Barlow?” Bob asked, and I nodded. “Applazon is already a major sponsor of Formula E, and they sponsor teams in both NASCAR and the Indy Car circuit,” Bob noted.

“Yeah, that’s just good advertising,” I responded. “However, Jeff Barlow and Elon Musk have a bitter rivalry that’s quite well known. That Jeff and Musk are constantly vying with each other for the title of the richest person on earth is probably a factor, too. Jeff has invested heavily in space exploration in the hope of catching up with Musk’s SpaceX and Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and surpassing them both. How sweet it would be if we could beat Musk in fielding a successful electric race car that could compete not only in Formula E but at the Indy 500 itself.”

“How would you like to meet some of the mechanics, engineers and drivers on the Rogers Team?” Bob asked. “That’s the team that Applazon is sponsoring.”

“I’d love to,” I replied.

Poor Carl was largely sidelined, and although I was sure he was thrilled with the chance to spend time in the pits, I got the impression he’d have rather spent time in my pits rather than the pits at the racetrack. Don’t get me wrong, he loved meeting real race-car drivers and an Indy-car racing team, but he realized that to me, boyfriends were secondary to my real passion, which was engineering and invention. To be fair, I think I was coming to realize that I would never find a compatible mate unless they were equally passionate about their career. Franklin’s revelation about Henry came back to me with full force.

The food we’d brought with us went uneaten when one of the drivers offered to treat us to a working lunch at the Brickyard Crossing Smokehouse, a popular place with drivers and their teams. At lunch, Carl and I actually got to meet some of the best-known names in racing in the world, and that pretty much made up for the loss of my attention. I had to give Carl credit for sticking it out as long as he did, but I was so engrossed in my discussions with the guys on the Applazon-sponsored Rogers racing team that I nearly forgot about him until I realized he was no longer there. It turned out he took the bus back downtown, and he left me a note that read, “Dear J.J., I had a wonderful time with you during your stay in Indy, but clearly you’re a man of passion, and right now that passion is focused on auto racing. I hope we can hook up the next time you’re in Indy, and I get the impression there will certainly be a next time. Please keep in touch, in any case. Love, Carl.” I ended up sharing the pizza and cookies that was supposed to serve as lunch for Carl and me with the entire Rogers team.

One thing that was clear was that if I pursued the development of a super­conducting motor and auto racing, I needed to spend a bit more time in Indy than I’d planned. As much as I wanted to stay to see the race, that wouldn’t be possible as I was meeting Greg and Billy in Chicago in less than two weeks and had to be home in Omaha for a family get-together on Memorial Day. However, before I changed any of my plans, I needed to discuss it with Jitendra and maybe even Jeff himself. I also needed to meet with race officials to see if entering an electric car was feasible or allowed by the rules at Indy. I had no misconceptions about such a thing coming together for the current year’s race. It would take months to build a prototype super­conducting motor and at least a year to build a race car around it. However, we needed to start working on it right away if there was any possibility at all.

I ended up speaking with both Jitendra and Jeff himself that very afternoon, and as I’d suspected, Jeff was willing to invest billions in the development of a super­conducting motor if there was even a slight possibility it could propel Applazon ahead of Elon Musk in the electric-car business. To be able to beat Musk to building the first viable, electric Indy car would be a real coup. We spent hours the next day in a video conference discussing the logistics for building a prototype super­conducting motor. I cancelled my reservations for Toledo, Detroit and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and would drive directly to South Bend on the morning of Wednesday, the eighteenth via Auburn, where I’d stop to look at vintage cars. I’d spend Thursday with Camilla, who was attending Notre Dame and then drive to Chicago as per my original plan to meet up with Greg and Billy. Being able to stay in Indy during the coming week wasn’t a given, however, since it was the month of the race. I asked the manager at the B&B if it would be possible to extend my stay, and he practically laughed in my face. Applazon had a corporate account with Marriott, and although there were inexpensive alternatives within the Marriott ecosystem, Jeff insisted that I stay in a VIP suite at Marriott’s flagship hotel in Indy on the site of the former RCA Dome and right by the canal.

During the subsequent week, I visited the remaining museums in Indy, including the James Whitcomb Riley Museum House, the Alkis Keramidas Museum of Art, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Indiana State Museum, the Indiana Academy of Science and the NCAA Hall of Champions – all of them outstanding museums worthy of a trip in and of themselves. I attended the Old National Center as originally planned and additionally went to performances at the District Theater, the Phoenix Theater, the IndyFringe Theater, Cirque Indy and in particular, the Indiana Repertory Theater, which was housed in an old movie theater that was one of the most elegant buildings I’d ever seen. Not only was I put up in an elegant suite at the best hotel in Indy, but I was wined and dined every night.

During the daytime, I spent the week learning the ins and outs of auto racing. I spent time with the drivers, mechanics and engineers alike and even took an Indy car out for a spin on the track, which was an incredible rush. Obviously, I wasn’t allowed to do that until I demonstrated the ability to handle a two-seater with an instructor in back. However, I spent most of my time in my hotel room, using my laptop to access the CAD-CAM software on Applazon’s corporate network. I spent hours upon hours working on designs for a super­conducting motor, coming up with what I felt was a workable design that could be produced at a reasonable cost. Of course, while on the corporate website, I couldn’t help but check to see if there was any word on the job in New York. I even asked Jitendra if he’d heard anything, which he hadn’t, but he did give me sound advice – to not even look for email from New York more often than weekly. If there was any major news, chances are they’d send a text or even call me.

The biggest challenge in designing a super­conducting motor turned out to be the cooling system. Although the motors themselves were highly efficient, the simulations yielded spectacular results so long as the rotational speed was constant. However, reactance arose whenever the magnetic fields were altered, as they were during acceleration and regenerative braking, which couldn’t be avoided in an auto race. The ceramic elements had virtually no heat capacity and so temperatures rose dramatically, and super­conductivity collapsed. It all was a matter of Ohm’s Law. The overall result was a catastrophic runaway thermal event in which the ceramic elements shattered, and that was in simulation. More than likely, the situation in a real motor would be even worse. At first, I considered a passive cooling system with fan blades integrated into the wheel, but that only tended to draw superheated air from the tires into the motor, making matters even worse. I considered adding a separate cooling fan to each motor, powered by a separate, small super­conducting motor, but the super­conductive rotor disc itself obstructed the airflow.

Like it or not, I was going to have to add a dedicated cooling system using a circulating coolant, and the energy needed for that would reduce the range the car could race on a charge. At least I knew how to build an efficient, effective, closed-loop refrigeration system, and the addition of super­conducting motors in the compressor stage would cut the power requirements considerably. However, I quickly realized that circulating oil with a conventional radiator would be cheaper, simpler and more effective. I also gave some thought to using super­conducting ceramics to design a more efficient battery, but lithium-ion batteries generate heat, which would destabilize the super­conductivity and quickly lead to an explosion. I’d had enough experience with an explosion for a lifetime. A super­conducting battery would have to wait for another technical breakthrough.

The cost of developing the prototype race car would run into the hundreds of millions – perhaps even more than a billion – but the components could ultimately be mass produced at reasonable cost using techniques we’d developed for data-server manufacturing. In addition to racing, the motors could revolutionize the entire transportation industry, replacing diesel engines in trucks, trains and buses, and anything else that made use of large internal-combustion engines. Even airplanes might one day be propelled by battery-powered electric motors, with jet engines based on the Bernoulli Principle and Gay-Lussac’s Law. If only there were a way to extract energy and use the motor as a generator in applications such as wind turbines, but then I realized there was. Slowly, it dawned on me that If my concept worked, it could be the answer to eliminating the use of fossil fuels and slowing climate change.

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope and vwl-rec in editing my stories, as well as Awesome Dude and Gay Authors for hosting them.

Disclaimer: This story is purely fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals is unintentional. Although it takes place in actual locations, in no way are any official policies, opinions or events inferred. Some characters may be underage and at times engage in homosexual acts. Anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of material where they live. The author retains full copyright and permission must be obtained prior to duplication in any form.