RORMaxx Could be First Steps to Wind Powered Sports Car

In the ongoing search for alternative energy, few things have been so overlooked as wind. Granted, many places are beginning to accept wind power as an easily accessible form of renewable energy, but still others don't see its potential. It is this problem that 2 young minds from California have set out to solve.

The solution came in the form of a wind powered sports car. While the design is still in the earliest stages of development, the basic principals of operation have been hammered out. Surprisingly enough, this idea didn't come from a university or laboratory. It came from a pair of high-school students.

Rory Handel and Max Bricklin, both of Harvard-Westlake High School, are responsible for the wind driven concept and they have every intention of following through with the idea. Handel has a passion for motor racing and there is no doubting that his racing ambitions played a part in designing the RORMaxx.

Powering the RORMaxx is a 285 horsepower AC electric motor. Power will be provided via Lithium-Phosphate batteries that can be charged through solar paneling mounted on the body of the vehicle. On a sunny day, the solar power could extend the overall range by 15%-30%.

The body and frame of the RORMaxx will be kept as light as possible to keep the required level of power down. The F1 inspired shell is expected to be aluminum based with steel being used only when necessary. Light-weight Magnesium racing wheels with M composite tires will keep the RORMaxx on the tarmac without adding too much weight.

Once the vehicle is moving, the forward motion will be used to route air into 4 ducts, each one housing a small turbine. The turbines will be connected to ultra-capacitors that will store the charge until it is needed. The capacitors will provide for quicker acceleration off the line and when coming out of turns.
Handel and Bricklin are also looking into hemp based composites to construct the body panels, rather than carbon fiber. They believe this will be an ever greater step in moving to a greener world without increasing the weight of the vehicle.

Another interesting fact, the team names Dr. John D. Rockefeller, the oil tycoon, as one of their most prominent influences. Rockefeller used the profits from the sale of his oil to research better ways of producing power. Ah yes, irony at its greatest.

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Jan 1, 2009
by Anonymous

Are you serious?

This is nothing but a drawing and some ill-conceived pseudo-engineering. I applaud the kids for their imagination, but question the InventorSpot's decision to include this post.

Jan 4, 2009
by Anonymous

Thought of before - nothing new

This concept has been thought of before and found to be Useless.
A wind tubine tunnel adds drag to the car, thus using more battery power than being produced to be stored again. very ineffecient.

Jan 4, 2009
by Anonymous

The Turbines Could Only be Used for Regenerative Braking.

Don't they teach the conservation of energy any more?

The "wind" energy is created entirely by the vehicle's motor pushing the car through the air and will result in a net loss of energy due to the inefficient conversion. Flaps that open when the brakes are touched or via the computer when coasting speed exceeds the cruise control setting... this could translate the vehicles kinetic energy to electrical energy by way of turbines. The problem here is that using the existing electric motor for this purpose is far more efficient and elegant than the wind turbines.

Unless it was a joke on their part, I would give them a failing grade.

Jan 13, 2009
by Anonymous

good luck with that

but I have to agree with the previous comment. Conservation of energy indeed.

Let me try to paraphrase, whatever power you generate with the wind, you're creating that much more, if not slightly more drag force on the car. You're making it harder to push the car along by having to turn the turbine.

There's a reason why wind turbine blades are so long. Think about the force required to turn a turbine generating say, 1MW, that's a lot of horsepower! And you need a precisely engineered and crafted blade set 100s of feet long to turn itself into the wind just right to get the force to get that sucker turning.

Now sail power, thats a different story. I think it would be interesting to have a sail on a car. probably a little dangerous but no doubt exciting.