Kite Powers EV Across Australia for $15 of Electricity

Forget plug-ins. Just strap on a kite.

Courtesy Evonik

Leave it to New Jersey to build a record-breaking electric vehicle powered by a giant kite. Evonik, a company in the Garden State that has been developing lithium-ion batteries for Daimler for the past 5 years created the Wind Explorer to see how far efficiency could go. Apparently, on self-contained wind power alone, it managed to drive 3,000 miles across all of Australia.

Rather than using solar or even human energy, the car’s power came from a lithium-ion battery outfitted with bespoke electrodes and ceramic separators that allow the battery cells to store energy generated by the car’s portable wind turbine. If that wasn’t enough clean energy, the car also uses a giant parachute-like kite, which propels the EV forward on even a light breeze.

The vehicle’s construction is as light as you’d expect. The body is made of sandwich carbon fiber, and a specially formulated silica-silane rubber keeps the wheels’ resistance to a minimum. According to Evonik, the car produced enough energy to travel up to 225 miles a day. For the whole trip, Evonik says, the car used about $15 worth of electricity.

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