Wind power has become a popular form of renewable energy, alongside solar power. Transportation and what powers it, is something that has long been in debate. There are questions about what it should run on and which fuel would be most efficient. There are some who thought that a wind powered car might be the answer to problems regarding transport and the pollution it causes.
In 2008 a group of German students built a wind powered car known as the Ventomobile. It carried a two meter wind turbine with two blades on the top for extra power. It had three wheels and a design that was more similar to a bicycle than a car. While it could not reach great speeds it worked surprisingly well. Many consider this build to be the first wind powered car as it runs soles on the energy generated by the wind.
Argued to be the first official wind powered car, it is actually a hybrid and uses electric power as well as a turbine that has been placed outside of the car. The turbine will produce wind energy to help supply the car with energy, especially if the battery starts to run low. It was found to be more effective when the turbine was placed on the outside as opposed to the inside of the vehicle.
In Fact, Lotus are so determined to create a more environmentally friendly world that they have started to incorporate wind power into their entire factory so that it can generate electricity to the machinery that assists in the building of the cars. Lotus have really proved themselves as a company that care about renewable energy and the environment.
At the age of 90, Tang Zhengping decided to create a car that was more environmentally friendly to help reduce the amount of smog in his country, China. The car can reach speeds of up to 90mph, and has a fan in the front of the car to help generate power. It also runs on batteries, and the wind generated from the fan helps to charge them and keep the car running.
There are also two solar panels on the little wings’ on each side of the car which allows for more power to be generated and higher speeds to be reached. The batteries only need to be recharged every two or three days, which makes them very efficient. Of all the wind powered cars this one is definitely one of the more advanced, even if the Nemesis does look better.
Mercedes Benz has recently come up with a prototype they call Formula Zero. A car powered by the wind and 4 electric motors on each hub. The aim of this being that the race is based upon energy efficiency and utilizing natures resources to win the race. Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America has developed this lightweight racer with a huge aero-efficient fin that combines:
“the thrill of Formula One, the track dynamics of the bobsled or luge, and the grace and efficiency of yacht racing”
Either way it looks good and should prove an interesting watch, albeit a while away from mainstream development.
Are they in our future?
Wind powered cars are certainly a possibility in our future, even if they are hybrids and use electric power as a second source. Large steps in renewable energy are being made more and more frequently, and with electric cars already well established, there is no reason why we cannot have cars that implement, or even run completely on, wind power. When it comes to transportation running on renewable energy, the future is looking incredibly bright.