Fast Company

Wind-Powered Car Crosses Australia With Mobile Turbines and Lithium-Ion Batteries

Wind Explorer

Someone get the folks at Guinness on the horn. For the first time ever, a wind-powered car completed a three-week, 3,100 mile test ride. It happened in Australia this week. Relying on lithium-ion batteries that charge overnight via mobile wind turbines--the vehicle, the "Wind Explorer," as the car has been dubbed, was constructed over a six-month period by two German adventurers. This probably goes without saying, but: the vehicle is carbon emissions-free.

"People are ready for this technology. They want to have it and use it," said co-driver Dirk Gion. "We wanted to prove how good the technology is."

Australia is home to significant coal mining activity and the possibility of alternative energy from wind, solar, and other sources makes the Wind Explorer that much more attractive to local Australians, at least to hear Gion and his co-driver Stefan Simmerer tell it.

"There are a lot of skeptical people and we wanted to show them how efficient you can make it," said Gion. "Once we explained the technology behind the car and people had a look inside for themselves, everybody liked the idea."

The car weighs 440 pounds and can run at over 55 mph. Gion is confident about the car's future in Australia and abroad. "I think in 20 years down the road, [the car industry] will be completely different," he said. "There will be so many electric cars in the cities that we will walk through the cities with no noise and no pollution and I think that is good."

The wind-powered adventure is not the first time Gion has embarked on such a voyage--in 2006 he crossed Australia on a skateboard, propelled by kites.

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