Winner: Super Charged

A tiny South Korean company is out to make capacitors powerful enough to propel the next generation of hybrid-electric cars

14 min read
Photo of Founder Sun-wook Kim [left] and chairman Inho Kim of NessCap Co.
Bright Idea: Founder Sun-wook Kim (left) and chairman Inho Kim of NessCap Co. hold some ultracapacitors, which rival batteries for some uses. The colored squares are solar tiles, which store solar-generated electricity in ultra-capacitors and use it to light LED panels at night.
Photo: Joon Choi Photography

Let’s say it’s 2010, and you’re boiling off midlife ennui or burnishing your golden years in time-honored fashion: by zooming around in a high-performance road machine. The car accelerates powerfully, and yet it moves quietly and nimbly, slaloming through curves like a go-cart. Best of all, it sips gas like a connoisseur enjoying 40-year-old Armagnac. Would you believe you owe these rejuvenating, guilt-free thrills to a bunch of capacitors?

Not just any capacitors, of course. To understand what’s going on under the hood of this car, you’ll need to leave behind the Lilliputian world of the picofarad and the microfarad and enter the realm of the kilofarad. It is a place where NessCap Co., in Yongin, South Korea, holds sway.

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3 min read
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Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg/Getty Images

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