With the average tank of gas costing around $50, people are again looking at ways to cut travel expenses. A couple of German extreme sportsmen may have just unleashed one very effective way of doing this. The two have just completed a 3,000 mile journey that cost less than $15 in 'fuel'!
Utilizing a lightweight electric vehicle they call the Wind Explorer, which is powered by a small wind turbine, and - believe it or not - a kite, Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer have just completed a two-and-a-half week journey from one side of Australia to the other, reaching speeds of around 50 mph, and traveling as far as 300 miles in a day.
But, you ask, why did a wind-powered vehicle have any fuel expenses at all? Well, it's not always windy, and Gion and Simmerer had better things to do than wait around in the desert for a gust or two, so around 1,200 miles of the journey was powered by electricity from the grid. That's right, 1,200 miles for less than $15. Try getting that out of a hybrid. Most of the rest of the journey was powered by the wind turbine, and they were pulled by kites for about 250 miles.
Gion and Simmerer, who have, between them, also traveled across Tibet's treacherous Changtang plateau without a support team; traveled across Australia on a kiteboard; and converted a Formula-1 car into a kite-driven vehicle, put a lot of work into developing this 450-pound windmobile, as you may well imagine: