By on August 22, 2012

The silly season continues unabated. A video of a wind-powered car, invented by a Chinese farmer suddenly goes demi-viral. “When the blue hornet hits 40 miles an hour, a turbine on its nose kicks in and starts to generate electricity,” it says in the video. “It’s pollution-free horsepower.”

The crazy clip may sound like satire, but it can be traced back to Sky News, where it was posted in earnest and in May.  The wind-powered car is not the only nonsense that piece of news contains.

“China has overtaken America as the world’s biggest market for cars,” we hear while our jaws drop. “ The Chinese are now buying more than 15 million new cars every year.”

TTAC readers know that the Chinese bought 18 million automobiles in 2010, and had beaten the U.S.A. in 2009 with sales of 13.6 million units versus 10.4 million units in America.

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32 Comments on “Stop Press! Chinese Farmer Invents Wind Powered Car! Sky Has The News!...”


  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Looks like a typo in the headline, but like the idea of a “win powered car” better. I imagine the driver would have to get in and do something very cool to get the car going and have to keep doing impressive things every so often. However, if he or she does something regarded as a “fail”–like, say, stay in the passing lane but drive as the same speed as the car in the next lane–the car goes into limp mode and begins to shut down until the driver manages some redeeming act of “win.”

  • avatar
    KixStart

    It’s really a shame that SkyNews reporters are so scientifically or technically illiterate that they’ll cover this story.

  • avatar
    RobertPaulson

    I guess they don’t teach physics to Chinese farmers……or European journalists.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Chinese farmers and European journalists alike are very post-modern. The laws of thermodynamics are considered as opinions and are dealt with in the editorials or by the political officer.

    • 0 avatar
      Ron B.

      Or Members of Australian Labor and Green party polititions who believe that solar and wind power can be made to produce base load electricity.
      Anything is possibler when the taxpayer is footing the bill or as Baroness thatcher so aptly put it..” socialism only works until you run out of other peoples money”

  • avatar
    InstantKarma

    So, it’s a coal-generator powered electric car powered wind turbine.

    Cool. Energy crisis averted. We can all consume at leisure.

  • avatar
    Autobraz

    Lisa! In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

  • avatar
    monomille

    Reminds me of the phrase “blowing on your own sail”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    He releases two kites for “sport” mode.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    This is like the regenerating brakes on the Prius. The faster you go, and the more you brake, the more you charge the battery. Brake enough and the car powers itself.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      No, this is not like Prius.

      In a Prius, you enter recharge mode when you brake.

      In this one, you enter recharge mode when you are above 40 mph and probably still accelerating. See the difference?

      • 0 avatar
        Polar Bear

        Same thing. In the fanmobile driving faster will produce electricity. In the Prius braking a lot will produce electricity. Both become self-supplied with energy. Then they start producing a surplus.

        Nobel Prizes are called for. The world is saved.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I’m always amazed that anyone thinks it’s news that a nation of >1,000,000,000 people would buy more cars than its debtor nation of only 360,000,000 people. But then, math is no longer the strong suit of the West, is it?

    As for the ev, I couldn’t help but think of the piece as a ‘Little Rascals’ Goes to China trailer.

  • avatar
    Feds

    DWFTTW…er…FTW!

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/06/downwind-faster-than-the-wind/

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Yep, that turbine makes enough power to keep his watch charged and power two more LEDs in the speedometer. Seriously – if this worked he could drive hundreds of miles. Since it can’t and he thinks it can, he probably does very short jaunts…

  • avatar
    Feds

    I built a car once that split water into hydrogen, then burned the hydrogen to make water. It worked great, but there was something wrong with the alternator, as the batteries kept dying.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Hey now, don’t you be talkin’ smack about HHO systems – my uncle BillyBob’s got one on his 1962 International and it gets 47mpg! He also put a second alternator on the driveshaft to capture all of that wasted energy that normally goes to power the back wheels.

      Somebody should start selling gas line magnets over there; could make a fortune I think . . .

    • 0 avatar
      blowfish

      these brown gas generators could be a real pig in sucking up the current, then it depends on how much gas it can saved though?

      my friend’s vette also died when he tried to go across the line on van. BC – WA border since its stop & go his vette has no pulley fan relies on dual elec fans, when vette is not moving fast enuf the elec fan has to kick in, by the time he turned off eng to gas up his battery was kind of depleted!

    • 0 avatar
      blowfish

      these brown gas generators could be a real pig in sucking up the current, then it depends on how much gas it can saved though?

      my friend’s vette also died when he tried to go across the line on van. BC – WA border since its stop & go his vette has no pulley fan relies on dual elec fans, when vette is not moving fast enuf the elec fan has to kick in, by the time he turned off eng to gas up his battery was kind of depleted!

  • avatar
    blowfish

    I guess it depends how much juice/energy it can generates while cruising along, atleast the prius will only generate juices when u tap on the brakes whereas this wind turbine will spin when u have enuf speed, then again there’re high efficient wind turbine blades that can spin the fan at a much lower speed.
    the surround fan shroud does enhance the efficiency, so as the fan shroud behind our rad. I changed the rad, while waiting to ascertain my rad is not leaking and everything are kosher I didnt put back the fan shroud yet, i do find the cooling is not as efficient as it should be, the air comes in from all side rather than coming in from the passing thru the rad coils.
    every so often we can see these electric fans do spin on itself when cars were at speed, the trick is how much juice/energy/ amperages could this fan can generate while its joy riding.
    If it can capture 20-30% of free energy then the car gain that much back, or as we say a dollar not spend is a dollar earned principle.
    20-30% of free energy means the EV car didnt have to plug in for the full period or 20-30% lesser time.
    We shouldn’t laugh at these brainless inventions, a friend whose cousin came to canada from middle kingdom yrs ago, he initially wasn’t impressed at the way he only buy soup bones to cut out scrap meat for food rather than buying stew meat or steak to eat.
    then few yrs later this dude has saved enuf mulla to buy his own house, since this dude is not exactly in the high earning category, he did successfully scrimp & save to enjoy owning his own home, rather than borrowed into oblivion only to lose the house when hard times came! something we should learn rather than look at them funny.

    • 0 avatar
      sfay3

      There is no free lunch. This thing would only create drag thus putting a greater load on the motor. Yes it would produce net power while coasting, but it would be so little as to be practically worthless.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I messed around with an electric bike last year. Neat idea, very useful and about $600 to build *right* plus a $100 bike from the discount store. I wasn’t about to invest any big money in this project at this time, mostly just an exploration… I want to build a second one using a quality bike ($350 Trek mtn bike) and a more powerful motor and 48V instead of 36V. I invested maybe $200 in my bike reusing junk I had around my house and an old bike plus some more junk from online sources.

      I used a cheap 350W bike motor (eBay), some surplus industrial relays, an Arduino, and a bank of the very same batteries that the Tesla uses.

      The end result was a bike that would run/assist about 15 miles if the rider pedaled as well with regenerative braking. Let me tell you – making about 300W of reg braking will almost bring a bicycle to a stop on flat ground which makes me believe that this guy’s expectations of generating anything with a fan bogus. You can’t make useable power without creating drag. Can’t get something for nothing in physics.

      In fact I used reg braking instead of using the traditional brakes as much as possible. That’s one of the design improvements I want to make next time – variable reg braking rather than just on and off.

      Battery assist flattened out the hills. Rather than struggling to climb up a hill, with the motor it was like riding on a slight hill instead. VERY useful for the person who lives in a hilly region like me and wants to arrive somewhat sweat-free rather than drenched in sweat during the warm months.

      My kids thought it was the coolest toy b/c they are so light the motor was capable of boosting them up hills even easier than an adult.

      746W is 1 horsepower by the way. I’m guessing that this fellow using a desk fan on the front of his electric car is making about 10W at most – negligible power for an electric car. He’d do slightly better putting a single solar panel on the car for a flat roof.

      Oh – I also set the bike up to be a stationary power generator to see what that was like and it was a challenge to make power for any length of time. ALOT of drag with the way I had it set up. There are improvements that could be made of course – gearing and so forth. I put a 20-something friend on it and he was sweating bullets and accomplishing modest power production for 15 mins.

      What I figured out what that rather than a 6″ diameter permanent magnet DC motor for a generator, we needed to build a larger diameter alternator and control how much the field was excited. Keep it low so that we could spin the alternator easily but quickly i.e. substitute speed for torque. You do the same thing witha Dremel tool compared to a real air tool. High RPMs and a light touch rather than outright drag on the cutting tool.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    maybe this will give prius’ engineers to hook up rad fans with a diode so when spinning it will re-charge juices back into the system again!

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    It only works downhill, and when the car hits a bird the driver gets Shredded Tweet. Dang it’s hot in SoCal today. I’m having childhood “Highlights Magazine” flashbacks.

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    I used to get an ad at the top of ttac for a magnet powered generator. It started off something like.
    “power companies hate this”

    • 0 avatar
      nickeled&dimed

      I still get the “power companies hate this” except the picture shows a Netgain Warp 9 electric motor… which means it’s an auto generated ad slapping that phrase on random “technology” images, because power companies should love electric cars…

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