A 55-year-old Chinese farmer has come up with a unique invention that might just make him a millionaire. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen vehicles that run on alternative fuel sources, but Tang Zhengping’s invention is really something else. The car he built in three months is 1m high, 3m long and powered by wind. But the best part is this – it has the potential to reach a speed of 90mph (140kmph). This does seem too good to be true for a wind-powered vehicle, but Mr.Zhengping from Beijing, the city that hosts the largest car show in the world, has a different story to tell.
According to Mr.Zhengping, the vehicle runs on electric generators and batteries, which are recharged by the large fan spinning in the front of the vehicle. The two solar energy wings at the back also support the generation of electricity. While one set of generators and batteries are working, another two get charged. For now, the batteries need to be charged every two days and the fan and wings provide extra electricity when the car is in motion. “It goes at a maximum speed of 140kmph and lasts longer than an electric car, which usually doesn’t have generators,” says Mr.Zhengping.
Having loved electronic gadgets since he was a child, he had the idea for this car over 30 years ago. It took him a while, but he finally put it together using only spare parts and mounting a ‘wind turbine’ on the grill. He claims that when the car reaches a speed of 40mph (60kmph), the wind generated is sufficient to create the 1.21 Gigawatts of power that is needed for the turbine to charge the battery. This ensures that the battery life is extended to about three times that of an electric car. So yes, the car doesn’t exactly run on wind power, but it is ‘assisted’ by it.
There’s a video available on YouTube, if you’re interested in seeing how the car works. It hasn’t had too many positive views though; most people seem to be suggesting that the fan does more harm than good to the car. The vehicle itself isn’t much of a looker either, its blue body and it’s extremely low height making it look more like a soap box racer. Whether the wind power actually helps the car or not, I suppose we could leave that to the physics experts. Some don’t believe that it really works, while others think that the fan is well-designed to take in more wind and also lower resistance on the car.
Mr.Zhengping does believe that his invention has the potential to make him his millions, if only he could find a buyer for the technology. But then he has built his dream car in just three months and it cost him only $1,600 to do it. He’s even confident that he can mass produce the car for even less that that. Now, that’s an achievement in itself. Mr.Zhengping says, “My dream is to make a contribution to society. I’m not doing this just for the money. I want to see people driving my car on the highway. I want to serve the people.” Who knows, perhaps the cars of the future will have large fans attached to the hood.