A car powered by wind is a new concept. The problem is that most of the actual cars look like something Don Quixote would try to slay – more of a windmill than an automobile. They are large, clunky, impractical and can only be used as a means of entertainment. Or at least that used to be the case until Tang Zhenping entered the scene. The Chinese farmer may change the way we view wind-powered cars forever. His invention, “The Blue Hornet” cost him $1,635 and 3 months to complete, but it may very well be produced faster and less expensive given the proper funding. Mr Zhenping says that he's not in it for the money, though (at least not just for the money), but that his dream is to make things better for his fellow men.
Right now China is the fastest growing automobile market on the planet, and with 40,000 new cars entering the roads every day, the country has also become the largest market for automobiles in 2009. More and more Chinese are able to afford the cars of their dreams. This, however, results in heavy air pollution, unimaginable traffic jams and industrial quantities of smog, and since people aren't too interested in green energy and electric cars, things look dire for the people in the major Chinese cities.
The Blue Hornet
Tang Zhenping is a farmer in the Chinese countryside. He says that he came up with the idea about 30 years ago but he couldn't find funding from the government or private investors, so the idea stayed dormant for a long, long time. However, he recently managed to build a working prototype of an electric car. He used the parts of an old electric scouter, an old motorbike and a lot of scrap metal. What makes his electric car truly unique is the turbine on the front of the vehicle. When it reaches a speed of 40 miles per hour, the turbine switches on and starts to generate power from the wind, thus charging the batteries and running the car. Unlike most traditional wind-powered vehicles, it actually looks like a real car.
There are certain problems with the prototype, though. Although it's working properly, the aerodynamics is terrible. The other question is how effective the whole invention actually is? The turbine should add more resistance, thus increasing the amount of energy needed to run the car. Is the energy the turbine generates enough? I guess these questions will remain unanswered for now, until proper research is done on how the car actually works.
Possible Future Scenarios
Researchers in the UK are already working on storing energy into the car's body panels. The main sources will be solar, the grid and strangely enough, potential energy from the brakes. Will it be possible to combine the two technologies and add wind energy into the mixture? The new panels are going to be much lighter and (making normal hybrid cars at least 10% lighter), and will be much more efficient at storing and discharging the energy. If the two technologies are combined, we might be looking at an power revolution – free, green energy for everyone. There are many challenges standing in the way of such projects and it would be a truly difficult path, but if it happens it will change the world forever. No longer will we be dependent on fossil fuels, alleviating the need of constantly using expensive and inefficient energy sources. Humanity has been through so much. Even though it may not seem like it now, this is absolutely possible. After all, two bike-makers gave us airplanes. Why would it be impossible for a Chinese farmer to give us free and efficient energy?
Author Bio: Connie loves to write about green living. She works for Shiny London and is always using only eco-friendly cleaning materials.