Turbine Power: French Ventile Puts "Spinnaz" to Work

There are so many clever ideas playing out in the Ventile concept I honestly don’t know where to start.

Should I start with the “wheel-within-a-wheel” rims that place an electricity-generating wind turbine at each corner of the car?  Keep in mind, this a concept that could be used on electric bikes (below), but also electric scooters or even electric strollers could even use something like this to push power to iPads.

Making “spinnaz” useful might not be the cleverest part of the Ventile, though – maybe it’s the under-body fan that smooths out under-body airflow, increases downforce (which helps to compensate of the skinny tires’ low lateral grip during more “spirited” cornering), and uses the usually turbulent air underneath the car to produce even more range-extending electricity?

The Ventile is a hybrid car, though – so maybe I should start with its clever use of BMW’s twin-cylinder “boxer” motorcycle engine, which should provide more than enough power to motivate the 350 kg car Ventile to highway speeds.

That’s not a typo, either.  The Ventile is light as a feather and stiff as a board, using super-thin plastics and metals and other ingenious materials – inflatable seats! – to keep weight down while keeping range and performance up.

Can you tell I like it?  The Ventile was an entrant in Michelin’s 2011 Design showcase, an annual exhibition of new automotive design talent on the web.  The designer is a French artist and school teacher named Thierry Dumaine, who doesn’t seem to have done any of the maths to explain how efficient all the fan-turbines are in practice, but they’re – I think – just too cool to ignore.

Great work, Thierry!


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.