This is pretty freaking amazing: A pair of German "extreme sportsmen" recently crossed Australia in a lightweight car powered by a kite. Engineer Stefan Simmerer and television host Dirk Gion partnered with industrial group Evonik to produce the Wind Explorer, a vehicle made from lightweight composites and loaded up with lithium-ion batteries.
The project was undertaken more as a technology showcase and thought-provoker than an exercise in practical transport options -- as their blog shows, overhead lines and moving kites do not mix well -- and the attendant website is thoughtfully appointed. In addition to overall descriptions of the team and a well-shot photo gallery, a blog documents the daily undertakings (and troubles) of the 18-day project while the "Partner" section details the composite materials and battery technology used in the vehicle.
The Wind Explorer mission statement sums up their goal nicely:
Stepping on the pedal without regrets. That's the mobility solution for the future. Electromobility powered by regenerative energies.
But the Wind Explorer is not intended to represent a technology for everyday. Crossing Australia is primarily a pioneering adventure meant to inspire further research and development in the area of alternative mobility concepts. A vehicle capable of crossing a continent without emissions of any sort. Peak performance born by combining today's technologies intelligently in order to point the way to new possibilities. For there's enough clean energy on our planet to go around. We just have to develop the technologies for tapping it.