An engineer from Germany and a television host have traveled almost 2,106 mile (5,000 km) in a lightweight electric vehicle powered by the wind. Dubbed Wind Explorer, the car does not only use electricity from wind turbines, but rather kites.
The pioneering 18-day trip by Stefan Simmerer and Dirk Gion set three world records: the longest distance covered by such a vehicle in 36 hours, the first time a continent has been crossed be a wind-powered vehicle and the longest overall distance covered by an exclusively wind-powered land vehicle.
Weighing about 200 kg, the prototype electric vehicle is constructed of an aluminum frame, ROHACELL sandwich carbon fiber and to decrease rolling resistance, it is equipped with sports bicycle tires.
Overnight, the car’s 8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack was recharged using a portable wind turbine or via grid when the wind didn’t blow. They completed the journey spending only $15 on electricity.
At the beginning of the 800 km trip, Wind Explorer has been powered entirely by electricity. Then, on the Nullarbor Plain, where the winds are strong, the team used kites to propel the vehicle. Using kite power, the car was able to log hundreds of kilometers.
This way, the trip took the Wind Explorer through the states of New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, arriving in Sydney on February 14. The team has changed two motors and punctured a lot of tires before reaching the destination, but they did it, eventually.