To combat the growing dangers of global warming and to save our planet from its evil clutches, the alarm call has already been rung to switch to renewable and natural resources to generate energy, as the only savior to meet our power requirement for day to day living. Although traditionally associated with seafaring vehicles and not in vogue for mainstream usage yet, wind powered cars have wind turbines installed at a strategic point of the vehicle that converts wind energy to electric energy, thereby propelling the vehicle to move. Scientists are still working on inventing wind powered cars that could create and set a land-speed record by moving faster than the wind itself. Some of the most innovative and successful inventions till date, in this segment, have been listed below.
Kazaguruma wind-powered car
While the innovative skills of companies like MDI in launching an air-powered car is still in its budding stage and far away from commercialization, auto designers worldwide, like Ippei Iwahara, have come up with excellent innovative concepts of running vehicles by using the flow of wind as the renewable source to generate energy. Named as Kazaguruma, this particular car design capitalizes on the whirlwind effect which forces the car to move forward as a result of spinning of a fan. The difference in atmospheric pressure thus created works in favor of it and forces the power to lift it further. To cut down on the production and maintenance costs, the designer has crafted each tire out of six identical parts which can be easily dismantled and changed in case the tire gets damaged partially, without having to replace the entire piece.
Wind-powered car by Chinese farmer
Quite surprisingly, a Chinese farmer named Tang Zhengping managed to hit the headlines by inventing a wind-powered vehicle right from scratch, without having undergone any professional training for the same. The contraction which appears like any conventional car sports a huge fan in front with wings at its rear end. This eco friendly wind driven car measures 3 meters in length and 1 meter in height, has been painted bright blue in color and claims to run at a maximum speed of 90kmph. Apart from wind flow, the vehicle also utilizes solar energy from its rear wings to support the generation of electricity. Its high speeds is a result of 2 electric generators which work in alternation with the batteries to move the car. The spinning fans, however, help the car to recharge its batteries.
Ventomobile Wind-Powered Race Car
A team of German students named In Ventus from Stuttagart University have managed to invent the world’s first wind-powered race car named Ventomobile which is a 3-wheel car featuring 2-bladed rotor of diameter measuring 2 meters rested on the top. It weighs less than 100kgs and consists of an engine with a power of 6kw. The team wishes to showcase it publicly as a strong contender at the 5.3 kilometer Aeolus Race in Den Helder, Netherlands which lasts fro 3 days.
Greenbird powered by wind power
In an attempt to keep low on emission levels, British engineer Richard Jenkins has hit the records by conceptualizing and inventing a wind-powered vehicle named Greenbird that has broken all land records by reporting a speed of 126.1 mph at Lake Ivanpah. The automobile gets its dosage of power from 30 mph winds. Ecotricity, the company behind this master invention, has even claimed to come up with a wind-powered super-car, based on the same technology, which would feature a more conventional design in the near future.
Wind Explorer wind powered car
Traversing across their adventurous journey in their own creation, from Perth to Sydney, German auto designers Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer created a world record for driving a wind-powered car across the length of a continent in their vehicle, shaped like a pod, in a span of 3 weeks and at as low a cost as $16. Christened as Wind Explorer by its inventors, it is the first self-sufficient wind-powered vehicle in the world which obtains power from lithium-ion batteries which in turn get charged overnight by using energy from a mobile wind turbine. Such is the technology associated with this invention that it can travel about 100 kms by using half the electricity as consumed by a washing machine. This vehicle weights about 200kgs and can attain a top-notch speed of up to 88.5 kmph. What’s unique about this innovative idea is that it can utilize kites to harness the extra wind energy.
Ultra-light wind-powered car
The very renowned aerodynamicist, Rick Cavallora, has come a long way to finally explore and invent an ultra-light vehicle, mainly constituting of foam, which could run 2.85 times faster than the speed of wind itself. This vehicle has been approved by the wind-turbine company Joby Energy and Google, and has been successfully created by taking assistance from San Jose State University’s aero-department. It’s outstanding design reminds you of a Formula-I race car and its ability to run faster than the velocity of wind is due to the mounting of a 5 meter high propeller on its back which generates enough thrust, pushing the car’s wheels beyond the speed.of wind.
The Ventile a Wind Power car
Already demonstrated and exhibited at the 2011 Michelin’s Challenge Design exhibition by its designer and creator Thierry Dumaine, the Ventile is an energy efficient car which showcases a perfect conglomeration of traditional looks with modern concepts. This car features large wheels which capture and transfer the wind to the base of the vehicle which generates juice by driving the fan. There is a mini generator installed near the wheel base which serves as a store house for wind power to provide fuel to the car. The tires in the wheels are extremely small while there is another fan between them which connects to the two motors of the car viz an electric motor and a fuel motor. The body has been constructed out of a light-weight translucent.material and the whole vehicle weights as less as 350 kgs.
Wind-Powered M6 Speedster
Designer Funfere Koroye unveiled a wind-powered car, the M6 Speedster, which looks as if made of Formula-I composite body parts, consisting of 3 wheels and a giant fin on its back. It utilizes its rudder and wings for sailing which allows it to achieve a speed of up to 120 miles/hr. This zero carbon emission vehicle operates by converting small wind into momentum which propels the car to move and achieve greater speeds.
Wind energy-powered sports car Nemesis
Nemesis, the first high performance wind energy-powered electric sports car, has been launched by U.K.’s leading green car company, Ecotricity. Conceptualized and stylized by an “A-Team” of leading-edge engineers of British Formula-I in Norfolk, this vehicle guarantees to run faster than a V12 Ferrari. It can achieve a speed of 0-100 mph in just 8.5 seconds, which can go up to 170 mph. Powered solely by windmills, the vehicle can run up to 100-150 miles with a single charge and can be charged in less than 2 hours from its special charger or in 8-9 hours from a main electric supply via a concealed retractable cabin supply installed in the rear of the vehicle. The cost has been kept under 1 million pounds.
World’s First Wind Powered SuperCar
The founder of Ecotricity, Dale Vince, is set on a new mission to invent the world’s first ever zero-emission Super-car which would be charged entirely by wind. Created on the lines of a heavily modified Lotus Exige which in turn has been retrofitted with electric energy, this whole mechanism is being designed to get charged solely by the flow of wind.
To conclude, we can simply say that utilizing wind energy in cars, although an eco friendly and green concept, is totally climate dependent, and needs a proper back-up system to become successful commercially and conventionally.