W&I Car challenge

What an amazing idea. I have previously only considered sailboats.

I think a good place to start discussing this is a brief summary of energy facts: My Nissan Leaf has 30 kWh battery and travels realistically 160 km on a full battery. Because you need some juice in order to find a nice spot to install the AWE rig, Id say a maximum drive of 120 km is realistic. The charging stops would take more than 5 hours if the AWE could deliver on average 5 kW during the charging stops.

The new Nissan Leaf will have 60 kWh battery, letting you drive 240 km and charging more than 10 hours. This could be realistically done in a daily cycle (5 hrs drive, 19 hrs for charging)

The route would have to be somewhere you might be able to install the AWE rig most places (ie not too crowded), be windy and be not too extreme.

Being norwegian, the trip from Lindesnes to North Cape in autumn seems to check all the boxes above. That is 2400 km approximately, with good conditions the trip could be done in ten days

Ireland seems another less ambitious destination. Around the world seems the ultimate ambitious goal, placing the car on boats where necessary.

To make it more interesting, the car might be racing a sailboat. If sailing 24/7 at 7 knots, the trip would take 8.5 days.

So whats missing? The AWE must be compact enough to fit in the car and still be able to provide enough power to charge the car during night. If the AWE rig needs power to run, it would be nice if the car could provide that energy from the battery. Otherwise an extra battery pack and some charging circutry should do the job. The kite should deliver 230 VAC and thus needs an extra inverter, or possibly one could use the chademo dc charging plug?

Plus of course the practical stuff like time off, an electric car where you could tamper with the charger, flying regulatory issues solved, and someone (@Rodread) willing to take on the challenge.

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This seems like a lot of work though. External battery is probably the MVP here :-/

Here is another way to get a small amount of power http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=13097&start=20

There have also been challenges on the someawe.org site. Not online any more. The thing with challenges and prizes is that just making one doesn’t make it worth pursuing. There are many ways to make it worthwhile:

  • Many people recognizing it, working towards it. -> recognition of the winner among peers.
  • Institutional accreditation. Good for contracts etc.
  • Media attention
  • Cash

People think doing stuff that has not been done before is worthwhile. We are in a position where we could be the first ones to travel by land with enegy independence? Im sure this would bring some PR to anyone who did it, which might be used for something.

My take, this is definitively worthwhile.

Note to self: We had non-fossile land travel energy independence with the steam engine

Related, a team that tried to do something like this along the coast of Australia.


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Yeah. They more or less did the same thing it seems with a windmill.

Amazing to see how much effort they put into the project.

The kitecar is a curiosity. There are not many places they could be used.

Yeah. But then again, you’d need a very capable wind turbine to charge a 30kWh battery every night.

From the description under one of their videos:

I’m skeptical of how much electricity they were able to generate with that wind turbine, and then this quote disqualifies the effort I think.

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I did not read the fine print. The whole point would have to be energy independent, and also able to travel anywhere with sufficient wind and space.

In that case, it probably has not been done.

I’d have to comment also the car they used typical pre-electric-car age when one assumed that people would forego space and comfort to lose gasoline. This is only true for a minority of people

Seems like this was a one time thing. The website is offline, I can’t find much about the two drivers.

It would be good to use a standard challenge route e.g. John o groats to lands end… Etc
This would help provide perspective and a time to beat.
There are energy independent solar car races.
A car with circuitry capable of accepting variable dc charging input like you’d get from regen braking would be perfect.
A standard off the shelf car would also be perfect…
I need to be in a team.
This car has a sorta similar intent… Sharing spare power available as ac 240v https://twitter.com/SonoMotors/status/1077857712946462720?s=19

Merry Christmas all

There will be some losses, but i guess AWE+battery+inverter+car can work right out of the box. The reason the battery is there is that you wont be able to control the amount of energy consumed by the car without changibg the charger. Also, setting up the charging takes a few seconds, so you probably cant just switch it on and off every few seconds. Using a COTS car is nice as its quick and cheap, and doesnt lose value after the race had been completed. A nice option would be a charger for the car where you could control the power by the second.

From my searches such devices are far between, but there are getting more of these. There is a Norwegian company called Tibber that is launching a car charger that syncs charging with household other electricity use. Someone like them would probably be able to supply a controllable charger, perhaps even for free

There we go http://www.stevefreemanonline.com/2018/03/zappi-electric-car-charger-review/

I have long loved the idea of a kite car being trickle charged by a small AWES when parked. This is very workable for those who live in open country, even if most people live in bad locations.

Suggesting Rod study an added kite car mode, to carry a large power kite to enable towing the car around a field or along a course for regen braking charging, or to jack the car up to free a wheel for driving regen mode. The easy part is to add a kite-powered hub-drive to the lug bolts.

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In Norway we have lots of tunnels, to thats not going to fly here (attempt of joke)

Yeah, I’d considered the jacked car idea… You could even run a front and rear turbine at the same time… However
Tracking the wind azimuth and anchoring the car gets awkward without a drive on tilted turntable arrangement
or a jack on wheels
Or a single unlocking swing out suspension linkage
Yeah possible and I have drawings somewhere in a pile on my desk but it’s a lot of bother on a tiny r&d budget…
Integrating a tow bar or possibly a roof rack solution… Maybe… But its a bit unnecessary yet.

It is a bit ironic however… I have been considering the next ground station model scale up aught to terminate on a PTO based on a car wheel format. The hubs have great thrust bearings, can be so cheap, fast, strong, reliable and even come with sensors for abs etc.

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Sorry, @Rodread

No, it’s cool,
A little lame yet. But a good thing.
I did get a few kite electrons into a Renault zoe once. Hoping to get an EV van soon.


Anyone got any bidirectional V2X V2H charger experience…?
Would allow the van to assist launch of the kite turbine before the turbine charges the car.

I would definitively get in touch with a V2G supplier such as OVO. I dont think a lot of this knowledge is widespread at the moment. Nor has open source progressed very far.

The Tesla M3 can supply 12V 10A. Perhaps that could be enough to junpstart your kite rig? After startup, you could use an inverter to generate AC and use a standard wall charger.


By the way, I assume the van you are referring to is the Cybertruck?

Recent Kite-EV conversion tech notes in emails relevant to W&I Car Challenge, that cover ABS/TCS interference and work-around.

JohnB is a longtime KiteLab/kPower consultant-collaborator, who engineered and built our first instrumented groundgen unit around 2008. He founded and runs an aerospace test engineering practice that qualifies satellite hardware, and owns a Tesla. He helped pioneer legal DIY renewable grid-tie in Texas, creating his own solar farm with tracking panels, and is one of AWE’s great low-key talents. Emails run last to first-

From: dave santos santos137@yahoo.com
To: John Borsheim
Nov 16 at 5:45 PM

Hi John, Yes, very helpful, sorry for the delayed response.

I had not thought of ABS and TCS interference. The quick and dirty work-around is to remove those fuses to disable. A custom master-switch can isolate all complex EV functions to activate only primary charge-control, maybe including added surge protection. Current EVs shut out surge to activate mechanical braking.

Each EV design has its own trade-offs. Its looking like a cheap salvage early generation EV, maybe even with lead-acid storage is a best start, since initial kite-EV integration is primary research. Electric golf carts often have regen brakes these days. Let advanced EV integration come later, in optimization phases.



On Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 08:24:25 PM CST, john borsheim wrote:

I believe that I can help with specifics, but I don’t quite know at what level you need.

Let’s take the tesla, for example. Single motor cars are rear wheel drive using a differential. The all wheel models have one additional motor for the front wheels also using a differential. There is no transmission, all speed variation is done using a variable frequency inverter.

Let’s use an example of jacking up one rear wheel and driving it to charge the battery. I’m not sure if the traction control system will play along. For all acceleration and deceleration modes, the traction control system is checking the speed of all 4 wheels and may totally freak out if it sees only one wheel spinning. What will it do? I don’t know, possibly just let it spin, without regen.

Generally regen provides much less deceleration than you can get during acceleration. At 60 mph and higher, the regen is 60kw. for all speeds below 60, the rate is linear: 50 mph is 50 kw, 30 mph is 30 kw, etc.

As far as overcharge and battery protection goes, the battery management (bms) kicks in and limits the regen levels. For example, on a cold morning, there may be little or no regen, and the lower limit and warnings are indicated in the instrument cluster. As the bat pack warms up from driving, the regen limit increases to normal ar 60 kw. Of course, if the battery gets totally recharged, the bms limits or ceases regen.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if that answered your question, or not, lol…

From: dave santos santos137@yahoo.com
Sent: Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:45 PM
To: John Borsheim
Subject: Tesla Regen Braking Questions?

Hi John,

Have been slowly figuring out regen braking details for various EVs for kite-driven mode, no two makers are exactly the same. The best EV regen is automatic, smooth, and efficient. It must never overheat the gen nor overcharge the battery. Tesla is reported smooth compared to most other EVs, but many details are hard to find.

The questions here are general, about key specs of hacking interest, like interdependent numbers for max-gen-mode wattage, lowest max-charge vehicle velocity, brake-hp, charge efficiency, etc. (?)

Note default kite input by jacking up a drive wheel, with Kite PTO capstan pully on lug bolts, as roadable after charging. Some EVs are individual motor-wheels, others are differential transmissions. Seeing dirt-cheap used 1st-gen EV salvage market emerging, with de-rated or no batteries, and ESC electronics aftermarket choices.