While electric cars and PHEVs may still be all the rage stateside, a team of German students has already moved on to the next latest and greatest: wind-powered vehicles. That's right: students from Stuttgart University's Team InVentus have built the Ventomobile, a three-wheeled "car" which features a 2 meter diameter two-bladed rotor mounted on top.
Despite its seeming unwieldiness, the Ventomobile has already proven itself as a potent racing contender -- performing impressively during early wind tunnel testing. The airy vehicle weighs in below 100 kg and has an engine power of 6 kW. See below the fold for a video of the construction process.
The InVentus team plans on competing in the 3-day, 5.3 kilometer Aeolus Race in Den Helder, Netherlands, against 5 teams from other European universities and research institutions. Here's a short description from the official website:
The Race will start in the former fishing village of Huisduinen (founded aroud the year 1500)and still part of Den Helder. The teams will gather in front of Fort Kijkduin, a fortress originally built by the French in the Napoleonic era and subsequently altered by the Dutch and by the Germans in the second world war. After a good job of renovating it now houses a sea aquarium and a museum showing it's history.
The race is conducted on the Den Helder seawall. During all three days the seawall won't be opened to the public or public traffic between 8 am and 5 pm, however all participating teams have to obey traffic signs. All team manoeuvres on the track will be observed by an observation team during trial & testing, qualifying race and finals. The observation team consists of 1 or 2 arbitrators and a full inspection team. At 6 pm, each night, we will make camp.