A wind-powered car called Wind Explorer, made its first cross-continental journey on February 14,2011.
[The Wind Explorer is a prototype electric vehicle weighing 200 kg (441 lbs) including its battery pack.
The trip took the Wind Explorer throughout the continent of Australia. Specifically across the states of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, arriving in Sydney on February 14.
It took drivers, television host - Dirk Gion and German engineer - Stefan Simmerer, 18 days to cover 5,000 km (3,107 miles), but they did it!
According to Gizmag Article,"Wind-powered car completes cross-continental journey" they set three (3) world records:
1) The first time a continent has been crossed by a wind-powered vehicle
2) The longest overall distance covered by an exclusively wind-powered land vehicle
3) The longest distance covered by such a vehicle in 36 hours.
The car was hooked up to a kite at certain times during its journey, depending solely on the wind generated from the kite, to run the car.
The vehicle’s 8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack was recharged overnight using a portable wind turbine that sits atop a six-meter (20 ft) telescopic bamboo mast – or via the grid when there was no wind.
(Yes friends, they hooked it up to a normal electrical socket, to charge it when there was no wind).
This allowed the car to complete the 4,800 km (2,983 mile) journey on less than a whopping US$15 of electricity!
The car's structure is made primarily of ROHACELL sandwich carbon fiber over an aluminum frame making it weigh 200 kg (441 lbs) versus the usual 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) for a normal car.
The funny thing is that the prototype had to use bicycle tires to reduce rolling resistance and so Dirk and Stefan had to make several tire changes, in order to finish their journey successfully.
(Rolling resistance increases the amount of energy need to make the car move).
Now you may be sitting at home/work and wondering what all of this means for you.
Well, I'm going to tell you! :)
The implications are great for this alternative energy car. As a result of the wonderful achievements of this prototype, we'll hopefully see:
1) Lighter cars, using wind energy to generate electricity to power its engines. (Only wind-generated electricity and electricity from the grid are needed for it to operate).
That's electricity versus gas needed to operate this vehicle...meaning less costs to a potential car owner and huge reductions in the oil bill of countries who will permit the sale of these vehicles.
2) More of these cars being added to and eventually replacing gas -guzzlers in the car fleets of countries, states, cities and counties where:
a) Wind is in abundance
b) Narrow streets/roads are common (the Netherlands and Netherlands Antilles come quickly to mind), thus reducing the need for gas-run vehicles on these roads.
So if your country is looking to reduce its dependence on oil...maybe your government should be seriously thinking of funding projects like this, with the strategic intention of reducing it's oil bill by 50% within the next 5-10 years:
For a lower oil bill means more money in government coffers to spend on the health, education and well-being of its people.
[Now which sensible politician would turn that down? - You take care of this and many 5-year elections are in the bag! :)]
People who are well-educated, well-nutritioned and healthy, make for more productive citizens...and provide great incentives for foreign investors to come into your country, with well-needed foreign exchange.
Foreign exchange that which will in turn boost your economy and enable your government to buy only essential imports, sans the oil.
It's intriguing to think about, isn't it? :)
Please see the article,"Wind-powered car completes cross-continental journey", for a picture of the car and its journey across Australia.
1) Article,"How Much Does My Car Weigh?", by Jean Scheid,Cars.LovetoKnow.com, accessed February 23,2011
2) Article, Wind-powered car completes cross-continental journey, by darren Quick, Gizmagcom, February 15,2011