The Wind Power Car. [Theory]

Could wind-power be used to operate the driver’s seat . . . ?

Okay, so this is going to sound utterly mad and, because I am monumentally shite at art, there are no pictures to support this idea.  You’ll just have to use a giant elastic band to help stretch your imagination a bit.

But has anybody thought of using wind to power a car?

I’m not talking about strapping a giant wind turbine to the roof of a Maybach because, clearly, that would be lunacy.  And would just look plain stupid.  But I’ve been thinking recently, and in this world where everybody is obsessed with terminating the internal combustion engine and replacing it with something polar bear friendly I wonder if the motor industry could be missing a trick here.

It seems that the two most plausible alternatives to the petrol/diesel options are electricity and hydrogen.

If somebody could safely find a way of storing and transporting hydrogen, this would surely be the cleverest way forward and I’ve even read that a hydrogen powered car could be used to power your house in the evening, relieving load from the National Grid.

But, right now, nobody’s come up with a sensible solution to the transportation and storage of hydrogen and every time I think of H-cars all I see in my mind’s eye is a motorway full of mushroom clouds careening down the tarmac.

So everybody’s chasing the Holy Grail: electric cars.  Now, these seem great in theory but in practice you end up with a G-Wizz.

The other big problem with electric cars is the issue of charging, and range.  For most electric cars, it takes the night to give them a decent charge that’ll see them capable of driving you to work and back.  When you switch them on, the range indicator will read something like 250 miles available.

Then, when you drive up the road, reach 40mph and switch on the radio and the windscreen wipers, the battery will run out.

Here’s where I think wind power could come in.  Logically, to generate power, you need wind.  That’s why all our wind farms are cited on the top of hills or out at sea, where there’s a surfeit of blustery air that allows 100 turbines to power one house.

Without wind, you can’t generate electricity so, clearly, a complete wind powered car would be utterly useless as it would never get started.

But what if we could use wind to complement the electrical structure of our eco friendly car?

After all, once a car is in motion it is doing its damnedest to force its way through the air and I’m sure some clever boffin out there would be able to tell me exactly how much wind would be forced through the front grill of a car at different speeds.

There’s probably some really complicated calculation that involves sin waves and other unintelligible symbols that I don’t understand that works it all out.

Surely, though, a wind turbine of some sort could be mounted behind the grill where a normal car’s radiator would be so that when the car is up and running the air rushing through the front of the car could be turned in to potential energy.

Perhaps it could be used to power the radio.  Or the air conditioning.  Or the driver’s electric seat.

Understandably, right now you need big turbines and lots of them to generate sufficient electricity just to power a bungalow, but it’s not beyond the realms of science fiction that a bank of small turbines tucked away behind the car’s nose could even be used to recharge the battery while the vehicle’s in motion.

So, there you have it then: the official wind-powered car.  But until the boffins make it work, I’ll stick with my oxygen-sapping 3.3 litre V6.

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41 thoughts on “The Wind Power Car. [Theory]

  1. douglas says:

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  2. i thought this was such a great write-up. We are really looking forward to the subsequent post.

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  4. Shred Monkey says:

    Hydrogen? Great idea, but I think the car manufacturers and oil/gas companies make so much they could probably afford to buy out carbon points to keep building. haha Maybe they can use the wind power for smaller stuff!

  5. BergiesZoo says:

    It does make sense, doesn’t it? After all, wind drag makes a car have to work harder to go forward. So, if you could design a car with less wind resistance, it would take less energy to go further. And if that design created less resistance by channeling the air through a number of small turbines, wherever they would fit, it stands to reason your forward movement would create electricity.

    In the early days of electric cars, when hobbyists were creating their own, everything that wasn’t required was removed, then replaced with as many lead-acid batteries as one could install in the back seat and trunk. Because people wouldn’t let it go away, we now have some rather nice electric cars, and an even better selection of gas/electric hybrids.

    Those early electric cars may have made it seem that an electric car was infeasible, and so too would a wind-powered car seem infeasible today. But if the automakers would pursue it, new technologies yet to be discovered could result in an electric/wind hybrid vehicle.

    Who knows. Maybe one day all vehicles will be hybrids using a combination of fuel, solar, and wind to make electric car batteries all but self-sufficient.

  6. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Allen James

  7. Whoa. It would really be great if we’ll soon have such kind of cars. Years from today, we do need to find more alternatives to power up cars because we don’t know until when will our current resources will last. Probably, this won’t end up as a mere imagination. We have many brilliant inventors. I bet they would have a way to make this possible and make it work perfectly. Maybe we just have to wait for the right time. Great post!

  8. Wind power cars are not bad. But I’m also thinking of a more feasible solar powered car to complement electric vehicles. The roof of the cars can be line with solar panels, so that besides the charging stations or the electricity you get from your homes, you can also generate additional energy from the sun. What do you think?

    • I think the future of alterntively-powered cars relies on various technologies augmenting each other, so it’s a good idea!

      I believe some manufacturers already use solar panels in their roof to support systems such as air con etc

  9. It could be done. Wind powered cars are a good idea, imagine, the faster you drive, the more wind you harness, and you get to store more energy. Like the way you think out of the box.

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