Would a wind powered car work?

dapuma   1 mW

Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 15 2017 4:57pm

Would a wind powered car work?

I drew up a design for an electric vehicle(in this case, it was a car, as I have the most experience with those) that would run on air. I drew a picture of it, and tested out some of the math required, but I was wondering if it could work, and if anyone here has tried.
Basically, It looks like any normal car, except with an extremely low drag coefficient. But, it has a grill. Inside, are some pinwheel-like fans connected to a generator. As you drive, the wind heading at your vehicle would charge a battery, thus making energy to drive. But, like everything else humans have done, there is no way it could be 100% efficient, so it would need extra energy. Anyways, energy cannot be created, only transferred, so theoretically the pinwheel-thingy would increase the coefficient of drag, taking up more energy to drive, rendering them useless. Unless you are able to charge while the vehicle is off. The question, how could this work, if it can, and can it be practical? If you want me to post the drawing, just ask.

Dauntless   100 GW

Posts: 6952
Joined: May 29 2010 1:49am
Location: Coordinates: 33°52′48″N 117°55′43″W

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

No.

It will require more energy to move the car than your portable windmills can generate. In fact it will use more energy with the windmills than without, shortening your range. There would be an inverse relationship of you losing efficiency rather than gaining it.
Last edited by Dauntless on Jan 04 2018 3:07pm, edited 1 time in total.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM MAGIC!
- Arthur C. Clarke

Chalo   100 GW

Posts: 7300
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Any device designed to recover energy from the vehicle's airspeed will consume much more energy than it recovers. The energy source is the vehicle's kinetic energy, provided by the vehicle. So the energy recovered is subtracted from energy provided by the vehicle-- but energy lost to added drag, turbine inefficiency, power transmission inefficiency, and generation inefficiency are also subtracted. It will always mean more power consumed to go the same speed than the same vehicle would consume without wind turbines.

There was a car that demonstrated an ability to be propelled by a wind relative to the ground (not relative to the car). It was able to move substantially faster than windspeed both upwind and downwind, by harvesting the speed gradient between air and ground. It did not have any other means of propulsion.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

Ecky   100 mW

Posts: 44
Joined: Nov 24 2015 5:29pm
Location: Northern VT

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

To rephrase what others have said, your grille + pinwheels + generator will add drag to your low-cd vehicle. Windmills generate energy by creating drag. You will always have more drag added than the energy created.

dapuma   1 mW

Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 15 2017 4:57pm

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Thats what I expected. I guess it would only work if the pinwheel generators were on while the car was not on, then could be retracted... but then there is solar power. So I guess it doesnt matter.

billvon   10 MW

Posts: 2003
Joined: Sep 16 2007 9:53pm
Location: san diego

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

dapuma wrote:
Jan 04 2018 2:45pm
The question, how could this work, if it can, and can it be practical? If you want me to post the drawing, just ask.
Nope. You can't just use the speed of your passage for energy.

You can, of course, use wind for energy; sailboats do it all the time. But that's a bit different.
--bill von

Punx0r   10 GW

Posts: 4866
Joined: May 03 2012 8:16am
Location: England

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Another problem is the reason wind turbines are huge is there isn't as much power in wind as you'd think:

Power = 0.5 x Swept Area x Air Density x Velocity^3

Power in Watts (W)
Area in square-metres (m^2)
Air density in kilograms per cubic metre (kg/m^3) [use a value of 1.23kg/m^3 for air at sea level]
Velocity in metres-per-second (m/s) [note the velocity is cubed]

Calculate for the turbines that could fit into the area of a typical radiator grill. Then subtract 70-90% of the power you calculate to give the true electrical power you could collect after the Betz limit and system inefficiencies are taken into account.

Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh   10 MW

Posts: 2362
Joined: Feb 09 2007 3:02am
Location: Marlboro

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

doughnut 4get 2pull UP on your shoe laces to lighten the load. every little bit helps.

you could of course break wind but that's a little bit different. you would need to store up reserves ahead of time in a filiament wound CF pressure vessel.
Kick down the barricades Listen what the kids say.
From time to time people change their minds But the Frock is here to stay.
I've seen it all from the bottom to the top Everywhere I go the kids wanna Frock.
Around the world or around the block Everywhere I go the kids wanna Frock.

markz   100 GW

Posts: 6194
Joined: Jan 09 2014 11:38pm

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

I think a hybrid car is where its at, battery powered and i.c.e. powered.
So you are not limited to range anxiety.
The next move forward would be high charge rate batteries, and a range of say 50 miles on one charge would cover 75% of the commuters. For myself I wouldnt mind an ev built by me to do 50 miles on a charge. I would also buy one of those 1.6L SUV's and deck it out for heavy snowfall and light offroading.

https://www.statisticbrain.com/commute-statistics/
American Commute Distance (One Way) Percent
1-5 Miles 29 %
6-10 Miles 22 %
11-15 Miles 17 %

16-20 Miles 10 %
21-25 Miles 7 %
26-30 Miles 5 %
31-35 Miles 3 %
35 + Miles 8 %
I kinda dig this custom job
http://cdn.pinthiscars.com/images/1986- ... aper-6.jpg
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Suzuki+Samura ... ickup1.jpg
http://autowpaper.com/images/suzuki-sam ... sion-1.jpg
or this
http://cdn.pinthiscars.com/images/1995- ... aper-3.jpg

I love this one

I think most of them are 1.6L gasoline engines, what makes them offroad is the gearing and they are light, great for ev conversion. How it stacks up in an accident is questionable, and emergency avoidance it may flip.

footloose   10 kW

Posts: 583
Joined: Mar 29 2013 2:59pm
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh wrote:
Jan 04 2018 8:54pm
doughnut 4get 2pull UP on your shoe laces to lighten the load. every little bit helps.
Where else but on E-S can you find such practical, down to earth advice and technical tips?

Lightening load by pulling up on shoelaces is a good concept, but it really seems kind of dangerous to take your hands off the bars to reach them. So I thought, maybe this could work same way to lighten the load, but safer since you could keep your hands on the bars.
You'd get a nice steady lift without the risk, right?
Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.22.34 PM.png (115.79 KiB) Viewed 1267 times

Hillhater   100 GW

Posts: 9321
Joined: Aug 03 2010 10:33pm
Location: Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Wind power car ?.. it has been done,..though not with turbines
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

LockH   100 GW

Posts: 17540
Joined: Jul 09 2013 11:06pm
Location: Ummm.. Started out in Victoria BC Canada, then started to move around... Oh oh.

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

"... looks like any normal car..." Oooops...

I taught sailing one summer, and as a treat the sail-training camp owner rented some wind-powered trikes and we went to an empty mall parking lot (back then the "Lords Day Act" law kept stores closed on Sundays, so the large parking lot was empty...)

Man, could those wind-powered (recumbent.sail) trikes rip across that empty parking lot!!! We had a nice crosswind that day. So up and back, up and back... Like any iceboat, but on wheels.

My sailing plans include a small - what sailors term a "spanker" sail - to mount on the pole behind my recumbent trike seat..:

So, an assist to my assist.

ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

LockH   100 GW

Posts: 17540
Joined: Jul 09 2013 11:06pm
Location: Ummm.. Started out in Victoria BC Canada, then started to move around... Oh oh.

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

"looks like any normal car..."? How many seats?
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

the e wind   1 W

Posts: 64
Joined: Oct 12 2015 3:08pm
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Contact:

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Hillhater wrote:
Jan 08 2018 8:43pm
Wind power car ?.. it has been done,..though not with turbines
correction: the Wind Explorer, seen in the above video, contains a small wind turbine that was unfolded and setup every night at the rider's camp. The car was built out of a two person Quest velomobile. The riders used the kite, I think pedaling, and also the help of an electric motor that was charged on the wind turbine every night. I understand that they calculated how much power they were expecting to get every night from various stops on their route, and then rode across Australia to prove the point. I think it was 1 engineer and 1 TV host riding together. First pic is of their turbine:
https://img.newatlas.com/wind-explorer- ... a0858a44c3
and here's a pic of the rear. Yes, do you see those mean looking spaceship exhaust tubes? Those are actually sections of the same turbine. They were folded up into the vehicle during the day.
https://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs. ... led-11.jpg

The Wind Explorer reminds me of my friend Michael's wind powered pedal trike; he said that he attempted to sign up for the Sun Trip 2015, but was too late, so instead, he fixed a sail to a delta pedal trike and toured up and around the coast of Scotland. He said the wind only pushed him over 3 times... He was inspired by early wind powered car experiments in America at the beginning of the 1900's.According to Michael, the early wind powered car experiments actually worked, but then research was abandoned when internal combustion got 'hot.' Anyways, he wasn't allowed to use the sail-bike on the Sun Trip, but you can still follow him, as well as our forum's savior Justin, and several other whack-os, during the Sun Trip 2018.
E-Bikes are like E-mail.
Current Ride - Solar Cargo Bike (almost done!) viewtopic.php?f=6&t=95452

parajared   10 kW

Posts: 812
Joined: Apr 16 2012 11:33pm
Location: Northern Arizona

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

yes, but not the way you are thinking... you know with that pesky "conservation of energy" rule and all.

option A) you would compress air into a big super-scuba tank and blast the air into a piston kinda like a gasoline explosion.
option B) you would make a land sail and wind-surf your way around
option C) you would stow a wind turbine and deploy only when parked.
option D) you would drive your windmobile off a cliff. You would "re-generate" more electricity than you use as you plummet to your death.

billvon   10 MW

Posts: 2003
Joined: Sep 16 2007 9:53pm
Location: san diego

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

parajared wrote:
May 22 2018 4:55pm
yes, but not the way you are thinking... you know with that pesky "conservation of energy" rule and all.

option A) you would compress air into a big super-scuba tank and blast the air into a piston kinda like a gasoline explosion.
option B) you would make a land sail and wind-surf your way around
option C) you would stow a wind turbine and deploy only when parked.
option D) you would drive your windmobile off a cliff. You would "re-generate" more electricity than you use as you plummet to your death.
Or e) a big wind turbine on top of the car, which only works if there's enough wind. (And this actually works; strange but true.)
--bill von

parajared   10 kW

Posts: 812
Joined: Apr 16 2012 11:33pm
Location: Northern Arizona

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Or e) a big wind turbine on top of the car, which only works if there's enough wind. (And this actually works; strange but true.)
Hmm... like if you put a Vestas V164 on a Mobile Launcher Platform?

billvon   10 MW

Posts: 2003
Joined: Sep 16 2007 9:53pm
Location: san diego

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

parajared wrote:
May 22 2018 5:25pm
Hmm... like if you put a Vestas V164 on a Mobile Launcher Platform?
Now there's a party truck if I've ever seen one! You could get a band and a full bar on that thing. (And a few jacuzzis, too)

But I was thinking more along the lines of: https://www.kvaser.com/kvaser-sponsors- ... wered-car/
--bill von

parajared   10 kW

Posts: 812
Joined: Apr 16 2012 11:33pm
Location: Northern Arizona

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Now there's a party truck if I've ever seen one! You could get a band and a full bar on that thing. (And a few jacuzzis, too)

But I was thinking more along the lines of: https://www.kvaser.com/kvaser-sponsors- ... wered-car/
mind blown!

I want a toy-sized one now.

Hillhater   100 GW

Posts: 9321
Joined: Aug 03 2010 10:33pm
Location: Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Hmm ?.. Looks like a great "Seagull blender" !
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

LockH   100 GW

Posts: 17540
Joined: Jul 09 2013 11:06pm
Location: Ummm.. Started out in Victoria BC Canada, then started to move around... Oh oh.

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Rush Hour's a bit... tricky...
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

Dauntless   100 GW

Posts: 6952
Joined: May 29 2010 1:49am
Location: Coordinates: 33°52′48″N 117°55′43″W

Re: Would a wind powered car work?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM MAGIC!
- Arthur C. Clarke