I’ve been meaning to write this a while ago. I talked about using the Earth’s rotation to generate energy the last time. I wrote a follow up on that, and at the end of the article, I contemplated using cars to somehow generate energy.
It turns out there’s this concept of regenerative braking (thanks Figment Engine), which converts some of the kinetic energy into some useful form of energy (or try to store that kinetic energy for later use). And apparently, sports cars such as the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP are already using this.
So what else can we do? I know, let’s put windmills on them car tops! When the car moves, there’s wind moving over it! Put wind turbines to capture that energy. Brilliant! Maybe we could just put a small wind turbine at the tail end of the car so that drag is reduced. Here’s the concept art:
Well, apparently, that’s already old news and the concept’s already patented. *sigh*
What if we place solar panels on the car too? That works even when the car’s stationary.
What if we attach dynamos around the wheels (as I suggested in my earlier article)? It doesn’t create drag, and the wheels are turning anyway, so we might as well use it to generate electricity.
I think the biggest problem isn’t generating the (electrical) energy. It’s storing or converting that energy to a usable form.
I remember hearing something from a cartoon movie once. The character (an animal creature but I forgot what it was) was talking about humans being the only creatures to need a huge machine to move just one human. Henry Ford had revolutionised transportation by making cars affordable. Now we need another revolution to make cars sustainable.