Can an electric car have an unlimited range?
Endless clean travel, sounds like an impossible dream, but sailboats have done it for centuries. The problem with sailboats is, they can’t nip to the supermarket or sail on the M9.
How can we have the best of both worlds? The clean power of sail with the ease and speed of a car. Could we travel endlessly, through wild, open country without pollution?
An inventor from the Outer Hebrides has a solution.
Electric Vehicles are ideal in most cases. Charge at home, and then go anywhere. Electrical sockets are easy to find, so range is not a problem. You can charge on a green tariff too, so your energy is from renewable generation. Life with an EV is Simple, when you are near the grid.
Clean camping and outdoor adventure is more challenging with an EV.
Roddy, from the Isle of Lewis, was brought up on outdoor adventures. His kids now love sailing, mountain biking, hiking and windsurfing. Roddy wants to buy an electric van but there is no charging station on the beach, out on the moor, or by the cliffs.
Nobody wants grid infrastructure built into wild landscapes. A portable source of renewable energy would be great but in reality you would need to fill your van with solar panels; a powerful wind turbine is too heavy.
A typical islander, Roddy took the challenge and built a solution. His first portable clean power solution was three kites sewn together, to spin the crank of his e-bike. Soon there were ten kites all spinning together. Roddy had to connect a kettle to his e-bike to avoid overcharging the battery.
Using kites for power has huge potential. You get more power from less material. Shell, Alphabet X (Google) and Airbus have kite power, flying wind turbines or airborne wind energy systems, as they are formally known.
Unlike the large company systems, Roddy’s designs are surprisingly practical and scalable. The kite turbine is proving to be safer, more reliable and more powerful too.
Roddy now has a company (Windswept and Interesting Ltd) to publish, patent and promote kite power concepts. Windswept and Interesting are testing the potential, with help from University of Strathclyde. They are also seeking partners to help realise portable and scalable ecological power.
Roddy’s family is planning more adventures. A snow-kiting trip in a car powered by a kite turbine might be next.