Hybrids and full electric cars have been the rage in the automotive industry for the past few years and hydrogen fueled cars are picking up momentum as well. The next “green” technology in automobiles could be wind-power. Two German adventurers have created the “Wind Explorer” and drove the wind-powered electric car across Australia’s southern coast.
Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer developed the Wind Explorer to inspire ideas about limiting the bad effects of traffic, while staying mobile. The lightweight vehicle resembles old open top roadsters, except this one has a 20-foot bamboo mast and houses lithium-ion batteries, a wind turbine, and steerable kites. The car weighs in at approximately 450 pounds, only 150 pounds more than Dirk and Stefan combined. The car would be pulled for hundreds of kilometers with the steerable kites and the wind turbine would charge the batteries in the process.
The Wind Explorer looks like an extremely extravagant soapbox racer on bicycle wheels, but it is so incredibly efficient that its wind turbine can generate enough power for a daily distance of 250-400 kilometers. The Wind Explorer can travel 100 kilometers on half the amount of electricity you use to wash and dry a load of laundry. For their entire 18-day trip it cost them less than $15.
[via LA Times]