Thinking Tech

Chinese farmer builds his own wind-powered car

Posting in Design

Tang Zhengping uses a large fan to help recharge the car's electric batteries, boosting its range to nearly 90 miles.

Tang Zhengping wanted to drive a wind-powered car. So he went ahead and built one.

It took three months to design, manufacture and build, but now the 55-year-old farmer from Beijing’s Tangzhou Wangji Yongle Town has a one-of-a-kind electric one seater, which he claims has a maximum range of nearly 90 miles.

His creation, roughly the size of a box-car, is powered by batteries and two sets of electric generators. A large fan installed in the front and a pair of solar panels in the back help supply power by charging either the battery or generator, depending on which isn't being used at the time, he explains.

Altogether, the project cost Zhengping the Chinese equivalent of around 1,600 dollars.

With the automotive industry focusing on more practical, road-ready alternatives such as electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells, research into wind-powered vehicles rarely gets any press, which is kind of a shame. Previous concepts, such as the Greenbird, have shown promise by setting the world speed record with a top speed of 126.4 mph during run that was aided by 30 mph winds.

And what Zhengping's invention demonstrates is that wind-power technology can, at the very least, be harnessed as a supplementary source of renewable power. For instance, it can potentially be integrated into future cars similar to how body solar panels or re-generative brakes are used to help recharge electric and hybrid cars.

But heck, who needs car companies when you can build it yourself -- at least if you live out on a farm in rural China where the definition of street legal is probably a lot more laxed.

More game-changing car tech:

The latest DIY and homemade inventions on SmartPlanet:

Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure