Cruising along in a car of their own design--part kite surfer, part wind power turbine, part EV--a German duo has driven across the vast majority of southern Australia on about $15 worth of electricity. According to their own account they've set several records for their particular class of vehicle in doing so, and we're inclined to believe them if only for the fact that we've never seen anything else quite like the "Wind Explorer."
Like many eco-minded innovators before them, Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer wanted to create an emissions-free source of personal transit, one free of both direct carbon emissions and secondary emissions from consuming fossil-fuel derived electricity. So they built the Wind Explorer, a 441-pound auto that transports its own wind turbine--a 20-foot bamboo mast that can be fitted with a 9-foot-diameter rotor--for charging the 8 kWh batteries during the night.
But that's not the only sense in which the car is wind-powered; with the right crosswinds, the passenger can deploy a parachute-like kite (similar to those used by kite surfers) to provide added thrust for the car.
It's important to note that the Wind Explorer's journey from Albany in southwestern Australia to Sydney in the east wasn't entirely unplugged. During early technical adjustments and fine-tuning of their equipment the team plugged into the grid from time to time, as they did during Cyclone Yasi when they couldn't erect their wind turbine due to the weather.
But their point was never to prove that they could cross a continent with a zero-total carbon footprint, but rather to show that there are different ways to think about automobile travel outside of the existing paradigm. And they've certainly succeeded at that. Have you ever seen a kite-surfing, turbine-toting, electric vehicle before?
i take it they dont have that many overpasses in australia? i could see a bridge or a passing truck being troublesome for the kite.
Great novelty but where is the real world application? You pull into work and deploy a wind turbine in the parking lot of your office? Sorry boss I couldn't make it in today, there's just not enough wind?
Not all that practical for a car; though having a pop-up mini-wind-turbine could be useful for recharging the batteries overnight / while stopped. Though I doubt it would add all that much to the batteries.. And might not be worth the added weight.
However, they did this kite-type-thing (but BIGGER) with ships a while back; with a computerised flying system. And even on boats as big as oil-tankers; they said it made huge reductions in fuel...
But that was a long time ago and not heard anything more about it since.
the kite-type-thing on ships are called sails
This was a little different, because it took advantage of upper/higher altitude winds; and could be used on cargo ships where sails aren't there in the first place.
A quick google search brings this up;
Great, see this video Wind Explorer http://t.co/B1JHlQC
we have too many power lines in amerika
I wonder how safe that thing is. What happens when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction? Also how do you control this?
okay. okay. a few people were really saying how pointless a 1000mph car is. Even though 90% of the popsci community thought plenty can and will be learned from building a 1000mph car. but I have to agree with most people on this one. We have this on boats. sails. this is useless in most places in the world. we have things called power lines. and more amazingly we have these things called bridges. and from the look of this thing. It might snag ANY car bigger than you, say... a truck which takes up 10% of all vehicles. I wont say waste of time, because they did break a valid and interesting record. so chalk one up for the human mind, but this one doesn't push human understanding of science or engineering much farther.
i mean just look at the picture. he cant see whats over that little hill. What if a full size 18 wheeler is coming over the hill about the same time he is? that line will catch him in a milisecond. I am curious to see what they did in those situation. or a tall tree on the side of the road. or a road sign!!!
we have too many power lines in amerika))) <a href="http://receptforyou.ru">Recept for you</a>
Germans have nothing better to do since the war :| wars. Might as well achieve something small instead of wasting time.
*D Ace Lee*
Germans have been doing nothing but create porsche, mercedes, audi and vw ...
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