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Wind Explorer EV crosses Australia for less than $15 of electricity; kite-assisted

Evonik Corporation is featuring the Wind Explorer—a lightweight, electric vehicle that crossed Australia on less than $15 of electricity—at its administrative center in Parsippany, N.J. The vehicle produced virtually zero emissions during the 3,000 mile (4,828 km) Australian journey, a distance roughly 200 miles (322 km) further than from New York City to Los Angeles.

The Wind Explorer took advantage of crosswinds by using large, steerable kites to cover hundreds of miles. Click to enlarge.

The vehicle, piloted by German extreme sportsmen Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer, ran on a lithium-ion battery developed from Evonik’s LITARION electrodes and SEPARION ceramic separators. The SEPARION technology is manufactured exclusively by Evonik and allows the battery cells to store energy generated from a portable wind turbine. Evonik’s silica-silane technology for rubber formulation reduced the rolling resistance of the vehicle’s tires, lowering fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

The Wind Explorer was constructed from Evonik’s ROHACELL sandwich carbon fiber, reducing the body’s weight to allow the vehicle to travel hundreds of miles by kite. The Wind Explorer was so resource efficient that the wind turbine carried aboard could produce enough energy to travel 175-225 miles a day.

The Wind Explorer pilots set three world records during their coast-to-coast trip across Australia, including the first time a continent had been crossed by a vehicle powered by wind and lithium-ion batteries; the longest overall distance covered by an exclusively wind-powered automobile; and the longest distance covered in 36 hours by an electric and wind-powered vehicle.



Not what you'd call practical transportation, but a tour de force as an existence proof.


Getting back to destination could be expensive since the winds in Australia generally blow only in one direction. A total waste of time I would say.


Of course you couldn't do that almost anywhere else in the world. Bridges and powerlines would stop use of kites.

Some application on ocean going vessels may be worthwhile.


When I saw the picture, I thought "Hey, I know that vehicle". Well, turns out the vehicle was produced by a Dutch velomobile producer (velomobiel.nl). I know some of the guys running that enterprise pretty well from my recumbent bicycle racing days.

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Tres cool, Anne.

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