Archive for December 2015

Probably be not, but this article will address the idea.

The issue of cars being powered by wind power is more a question of sociological and cultural shifts in habits and thinking than one of supply and demand; meaning it’s even less likely to occur in the near future or potentially ever.

Massachusetts Institute of Technlogy professor Stephen Connors has actually looked into the quesiton; his specialty is alternative energy and electricity generation, so he has considered wind power as a method of fueling the electricity for an electric vehicle.

wind turbine“The big issue with electric vehicles is people want to charge overnight,” Connors explained. Because most electricity is produced with the use of steam turbines fired through gas, coal or petroleum, there’s a clear way to store up energy at night; you just keep the system moving. This way surplus energy can build up at 3:00 am when most people’s appliances and devices aren’t running. This works well for any electronic vehicle owner, who can plug into the grid at night while he or she sleeps.

Wind power, unfortunately, does not allow for this surplus charge to form. The wind is not reliant on a predictable, clocklike pattern. It’s as variable as the weather, so no guarantees can be made that your EV would be powered in the morning after a still and peaceful night.

“There’s quite a mismatch in patterns with charging electric vehicles and when wing energy becomes available,” explained Connors. Wind power runs on a schedule that involves seasonal changes and day to day patterns. These trends dictate the more immediate wind energy production, so while wind power may be able to supplement an electric vehicle’s charging station’s source of electricity, it could never be a reliable source of energy alone.

“This seasonal component doesn’t meet the needs currently,” confirmed Connors.

stephen connorsThis will always be true, assuming certain aspects of human culture will always remain the same. Cars would need to be expected to be owned by private owners, and most adults would need to be continued to be expected to own cars everywhere other than the most walkable American cities New York City, San Francisco, etc.). It would also need to be a relatively unnecessary conversion from gas-electric power to wind-electric power. If solar power were to fail and gas became too expensive to be a feasible way of fueling a car, wind power technology might expand considerably faster than expected.

For the time being, Connors and his colleagues don’t think wind powered cars would ever become a thing until at least 2050.

Even more disheartening to the wind powered car efforts is the fact that the country’s electricity producers would have to create about 16 trillion kilowatt hours of energy per day to achieve roughly the same energy level as is produced by the gasoline consumed in the same period.

Gas powered vehicles are king for a reason, but plenty of people think that as technology develops, the reign of oil may be drawing to a close. For the sake of our environment, we’ll have to hope they’re correct.