Wind-powered vehicles have traditionally been associated with seafaring vehicles that, until the advent of steam engines, relied primarily upon winds which were used to drive the sails of such vehicles to their destinations. In the Western world, such sail-based wind propulsion on water persists in the modern day within primarily leisurely activities, such as sailing boats, sailing ships, yachting, and windsurfing. A special case is ice yachting on ice-covered water.
Terrestrial sail-based wind propulsion in the form of land sailing and land windsurfing are also popular recreational activities.
Terrestrial and seagoing wind propulsion by use of kites as propulsion subassembly are also wind-powered vehicles. OceanKite, KiteShip, KitVes, are just a few contemporary examples of kite-based wind-powered vehicles. Kite buggying is an ongoing wind-powered land vehicle activity.
1 (Wind-powered mechanical vehicles
1.1 On land
1.1.2 Spirit of Amsterdam
1.1.3 Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero
(Wind-powered mechanical vehicles
Wind-powered mechanical vehicles primarily use wind turbines installed at a strategic point of the vehicle. The wind power, which is converted into mechanical energy through gears, belts or chains, causes the vehicle to propel forward. While they are not in mainstream use yet, many schools have begun building the new technology and research into their curricula to teach students and to get them active in the subject. Seagoing electric propulsion where the electricity is derived from the kite subassembly is an ongoing activity by KitVes.)
Terrestrial wind-powered mechanicals includes Ventomobile, and Spirit of Amsterdam (1 & 2). The Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero uses solar cells, batteries, and a sail. The Greenbird, which currently holds a world record for fastest wind powered vehicle, is sail powered.
The InVentus Ventomobile racing at the Aeolus Race 2008
The Ventomobile is a solely wind powered lightweight three-wheeler designed by University of Stuttgart students. It won the first prize at the Racing Aeolus held at Den Helder, Netherlands, in August 2008. At the Aeolus race, several universities from all over the world participate in race to build the best and fastest wind powered vehicle.
Matthias Schubert, Chief Technical Officer of the teams’ main sponsor REpower Systems AG, applauded the integration of the InVentus Ventomobile project into the coursework of the students: “The achievement of managing a big team over many months, and even making select construction tasks part of undergraduate teaching cannot be estimated highly enough! The enthusiasm the students show in renewable energies and the development of innovative solutions should serve the industry as an example for the development of new technologies."
Spirit of Amsterdam
The wind-powered land vehicles "Spirit of Amsterdam 1" and "Spirit of Amsterdam 2" were built by the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (University of Applied Science Amsterdam). In 2009 & 2010 the Spirit of Amsterdam 1 and 2 won first prize at the Racing Aeolus held in Denmark.
The Spirit of Amsterdam 2 is the second vehicle built by the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. It uses a wind turbine to capture the wind velocity and uses mechanical power to propel the vehicle against the wind. This vehicle is capable of driving 6.6 meters per second with a 10-meter per second wind. Next to its reduced weight, the main advantage is the onboard computer with its sophisticated control system. This specially designed computer is capable of automatically shifting gear in a fraction of a second, and by this the gears are always shifted to their most efficient position.
Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero
Unlike traditional racing, which focuses merely on the order of finish, Mercedes' new concept introduces energy efficiency as an integral part of the competition. The Formula Zero Racer is loaded with technology designed to extract the maximum thrust from the electric hub motors, aero-efficient solar skin and high-tech rigid sail.