Enter the Wind-Mobile!

Chinese Propeller CarSolar cars are fun – even if they’re not yet eminently practical (it’s hard to get enough electricity to continuously run a car from current solar panel technology), they’re still a great project. Solar power is, however, not the only source of renewable energy directly powering a motor vehicle: a farmer in China has built a wind-mobile.

Tang Zhenping from Peking put together a (sort of) wind-powered electric car, and he’s been making headlines with it around the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. It’s not a production car, and it wasn’t made by a professional automaker, but the little wind-mobile seems to function fairly well all the same.

Not Quite A Perpetual Motion Machine

The apparent idea behind the wind-mobile is to use the wind generated by the car driving down the road to turn a propeller attached to the front of the car. Then, much like a standard wind turbine, the propeller works a generator which then charges a battery. The battery is then hooked into the car’s electric motor, which powers the car.

The propeller doesn’t produce enough power on its own to recharge the batteries, but it does help cut down on time between trips to the charging station – every little bit helps, and the propeller produces more power than drag. Think of it like regenerative braking – it doesn’t harvest all the energy expended during acceleration, but it improves range a little.

The car in question is 118” long and just 39” tall, with a top speed of 87mph, although there has been no report of actual practical battery range. It was apparently built in just three months, and cost less than $1600 to put together.

Brilliant or wacky? I rather like the idea, but tell me what you think, in the comments below.

Source | Image: Autobild.

Charis Michelsen

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.