Why don’t electric cars have wind turbines? With enviable performance and quick acceleration, it always feels exciting to drive electric cars.
While these vehicles offer significant emission benefits, you still have to look for a way to power up your car for the best performance.
That is exactly when the idea of using wind turbines comes into the picture.
It is all about harnessing wind energy to move your car. But can you put a wind turbine on a car?
Turns out, you cannot run electric cars using wind turbines just yet because the energy is not enough to help your car travel far.
The Concept of Going Electric with Your Vehicle
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are no longer a thing for the future. In fact, it won’t be too long before an electric car will be the car owners only option.
The upside is that finding a charging point has become much easier and therefore how far a charge will get you isn’t the issue it used to be.
That is the reason why more and more people are wondering if they too can get a grip with this planet-saving technology.
Sooner or later, they will probably have to. It’s all very simple, once you know what you are dealing with.
Fact: Modern-day wind turbines are much more complicated now and use more than 8,000 different components.
The Pleasure of Driving an Electric Car
To put it briefly, electric cars are exciting to drive because of their impressive acceleration and handling.
Unlike gas-powered vehicles, electric motors may generate their maximum torque immediately upon starting.
And many people also love the idea because cars powered by electricity also have excellent steering.
But, ultimately it comes down to how you can charge those batteries to make your electric car run uninterrupted.
How Do Electric Cars Charge?
To begin, a battery electric car has no traditional combustion engine.
All BEVs, or EVs for short, have an electric motor instead, which makes them incredibly quiet. This electric motor is powered by a rechargeable traction battery.
It’s still rather large but getting smaller, and more efficient with each generation of EV car.
As the battery gets smaller, the vehicle gets less heavy and better battery efficiency makes each new EV able to travel further.
The Charging Process
To recharge an EV, it must be plugged into a special outlet.
It is basically an EVSE which stands for electric vehicle supply equipment or as they are better known as, an EV charging station.
This could be a public charging station or one you have at home or workplace, which is all very straightforward.
And while it works efficiently, there is always a need for an alternative source of energy.
That is exactly the reason why there has been so much interest in switching to wind turbines to run electric cars.
Fact: Electric cars are not a modern innovation, as a Scottish inventor designed the first electric-powered vehicle in 1832.
Why Don’t Electric Cars Have Wind Turbines?
Hopefully, it won’t be too long before many more cars are powered by wind turbines, and people are working on it.
As it is now, the energy that can be harnessed from the wind isn’t enough to allow a car to travel very far.
The thing is that we are not yet able to use wind turbines on cars because the wind is too unreliable. It doesn’t blow at a constant rate.
And that means you may find yourself in trouble when the wind is simply not in your favor!
The Concept of Using Wind Turbines for Recharging
The idea of using wind turbines to generate electricity has been around for a while.
Seeing enormous wind turbines turning in the wind offshore or on hillside fields is now the norm.
The availability of smaller, portable units, suitable for individual use rather than industrial, is making a difference too.
In fact, they are the reason why many people have been thinking of using them to recharge electric cars.
The Use of Wind Turbines on Electric Cars
The rotating arms of any wind turbine generate energy that can be stored in a turbine battery.
It’s the electrochemicals in the battery that allow the current to be held for long periods of time, ready for use as and when needed.
An EV battery works the same way and with the advancement of wind-powered technology, it is obvious to see people interested in using it for the same purpose.
Pros and Cons of Using Wind Turbines
- Wind power is a sustainable energy source.
- Wind-powered energy can be stored in a battery.
- Limited power output
- Additional weight creates drag using more energy than is produced.
- The car still needs an electric motor.
- The wind is unpredictable.
- Using the car would depend on the weather.
Fact: In 2016, there were only a million EVs on the road, but data shows that there will be 20 million EVs on the road by June 2022.
Will You Be Able to Find Electric Cars with Wind Turbines?
While everyone would love to, it does not seem quite likely.
The notion behind this proposal is that using a wind turbine to power an automobile is beneficial because the car uses wind as it travels down the road.
In either case, this goes against the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
Using wind turbines is not a great idea because of conversion efficiencies.
The wind turbine is limited in harnessing the wind’s kinetic energy caused by the moving car.
According to studies, a wind turbine can only utilize up to 59.3 percent of the available wind power.
Most current wind turbines only have a restricted range of effective wind speeds, where they can harvest 40% of the energy available.
Because of this, we have wasted around 60% of our potential energy.
That is to say, we come out with no benefit whatsoever. Ultimately, it will be on us to generate wind by driving the car through it.
Another possible hurdle in the way of using wind turbines on electric cars is increasing drag.
The amount of resistance will change with a change in drag.
And there will be a change in drag if:
- You increase the speed
- You increase the coefficient of drag
- You increase the frontal area
What you should also know is that if you double your speed, the resistance you will encounter will increase by a factor of four.
What it means is that getting the automobile and the wind turbine on it through the air would need a lot of effort.
With the addition of the wind turbine, we have increased the car’s drag, which is not going to help.
Fact: In 11 states, wind power accounts for over 20% of electricity generation, and in South Dakota and Iowa, it accounts for over 50%.
Are There Better Alternatives to Using Wind Turbines on Cars?
Although developers have been working on a wind-powered car idea since 2009, progress has been slow.
Yes, powering cars with wind power has always had great potential, but its challenges have prompted other developers to keep pushing forward to find other energy-sustainable alternatives.
Here are some options:
Solar panels have been around for a long time now and are considered mature energy. They have increased in their versatility and efficiency over the years.
A way to use a combination of wind and solar power in cars is also being considered. It produces power, but there is still a long way to go with the research.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell
An alternative already in use is the hydrogen fuel cell. The fuel cell converts hydrogen into electricity and it is efficient.
The compressed hydrogen is stored in the fuel stack. The amount of energy the car has available is determined by the size of the stack.
Hydrogen cars have had some success but are still far away from being mass-produced.
The Concept of Reversible Grid
In the near future, the most promising solution for being an eco-friendly car driver is the idea of a reversible grid.
In the reversible grid, electric vehicles are only charged when there is a surplus in the electricity supply.
It means parked vehicles give electricity back to the grid when demand is high.
The system has been described as a ‘reversible pumping station’ with the grid having access to potentially millions of extra batteries.
Why don’t electric cars have wind turbines? The biggest issue is that wind is so unreliable that it is often insufficient to charge an electric vehicle and propel it forward.
Moreover, the use of wind turbines also does not comply with the laws of thermodynamics, making wind power a lot less suitable choice for electric cars.