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Use small turbines to recharge while driving?

Use small turbines to recharge while driving?

I reserved a Model 3 and just rented a Model S for the first time this past weekend. It was my first time even being inside a Tesla and my instinct to reserve a Model 3 was confirmed.

My road trip required quite a few recharging stops and got me thinking: was it ever considered, or how practical would it be, to add several small turbines on the front of the vehicles (below headlamps perhaps) which would catch air and spin during travel and recharge the battery? Obviously they would be flush with the front of the vehicle and probably require a screen or guard to prevent debris contamination. I wonder if perhaps this was something that was considered but ultimately didn't make the final cut and why. I'm also curious whether this would affect wind resistance and cause drag that would ultimately cancel out the amount of additional power it would generate.

My drive took me across vast swathes of open highway so having *something* to generate power during long stretches like that when I didn't brake for hours at a time could enhance range and highway travel.

TeslaTap.com | 07. November 2019

@justend - Actually how you design the front makes a significant difference. Airflow around a smooth front has far less drag than a fan with turning fan blades connected to a generator - even if mounted in the front of the car. The more energy generated directly increases drag.

While not going into the thermodynamics of it, consider no one has demonstrated such as system. It's really fairly easy to build and confirm, and there would be a ton of patents on it too. So far no demo, no patents (ok, I didn't do a patent search, but I'm confident the patent office would not grant such a patent).

sunsinstudios | 07. November 2019

Without breaking the laws of thermodynamics, the only way to charge the car while driving - and not lose power - is to add a source of power. It's pretty obvious the answer is to have hamsters running on hamster-wheels to generate power. However, one hamster won't do, you need many. The logical place to house such equipment is in the frunk and trunk. The hamster wheels will have to be wired in parallel of course. If wired in series, the last hamster in the circuit would have to carry all the load while the first hamster might spin so rapidly he, or she, will be launched into space - this is not SpaceX. Sadly, the savings sought from free power will have to be spent on food and water for the hamsters. Explaining yourself to your spouse may cause its own unique issues. Also, you would be driving around smelling hamsters all day.

jimglas | 07. November 2019

oh my, not again

justend | 07. November 2019

Okay it does matter if it's flat vs a bunch of fans (drag coefficient might change (barely)) but the drag due to the geometry of the car is already a sunk cost, not an additional cost, and there's nothing wrong with trying to recapture it.

Would it work on an airfoil or super aerodynamic car? No. But would it work on the flat front surface of a traditional sedan? I think so.

justend | 07. November 2019

I see what you're saying @TeslaTap.com. What about behind the condenser of a hybrid? No geometry change. Still taking all the wasted air-stream energy and charging a battery.

Xerogas | 07. November 2019

The surface area exposed / in contact / normal to fluid flow is considered in the determination of the pressure drag. It’s not “just barely”: it’s huge. There’s a reason why the nose of aerodynamic cars look like rocket nose cones.

andy.connor.e | 08. November 2019

I dont think you understand what you're saying. If there is anything attached to the car that is adding drag to the car to generate energy, it will be a net loss. I dont know what you are talking about air stream energy or drag coefficients. You cannot harness energy that was already used to slow the car (drag). And even so, any amount of wind turbine on the vehicle will be adding more drag to the car than it can generate energy.

blue adept | 08. November 2019

They're trying to capitalize on the laminar airflow over the car's body during driving yet they're overlooking the fact that, if the smooth flow of air is interrupted over a wing section, turbulence is created which results in a high degree of drag, ergo, it would operate at a deficit to the overall performance of the vehicle creating a detriment that would outweigh whatever perceived benefit.

In short, increasing the drag of a vehicle by whatever means, for whatever purpose, would defeat whatever benefit.

I'm with @andy.connor.e, I don't think you know what you're trying to talk about...Perhaps you should read more books?!

blue adept | 08. November 2019

*Above comments directed at @justend.

blue adept | 08. November 2019

I know I've tried this before, but just to take another whack at it since this seems to keep popping up and for the sake of encouraging thought and understanding, as opposed to discouraging it, I came up with the following that you'll likely be more aware of as a way of conveying what we're trying to explain to you...

Automakers like to make a big to do over horsepower (HP) and increasing an ICE's output HP with the use of a "supercharger", a mechanical unit that is basically an air compressor that is mounted somewhere in the engine bay and driven by connection to the engine's system of pulleys with a "fan belt", making use of the mechanical energy of the engine's rotation to spin the rotors of the compressor which forces additional air into the combustion chamber increasing the combustion of fuel.

While this does increase the HP power somewhat, it does so at the sacrifice of increased fuel usage and the mechanical loss associated with increased engine friction from spinning an additional pulley to drive the compressor's rotor so, except for a temporary boost in power, it ultimately defeats the purpose of installing it in the first place.

This is because most internal combustion engines are incredibly inefficient at turning fuel burned into usable energy, resulting in over 62% of the fuel's energy being lost in the combustion process making them very inefficient at converting the fuel's chemical energy to mechanical energy, due to losing energy to engine friction, pumping air into and out of the engine, and wasted heat with the addition of a supercharger further exacerbating the overall losses.

Similarly, placing or incorporating a wind-driven turbine somewhere on the car would defeat its purpose as whatever benefit would detract from its overall performance &/or mileage by the increase in drag it would cause by interrupting the flow of air over, around, and under the car.

Thing is, as far as pure conversion from energy to motion goes, electric motors are far more efficient than combustion engines, like 98% efficient with an average hovering right around 90%, but I suppose there's still roughly a 2 to 10 percent opportunity for devising some form of increased efficiency...somehow.

Now, if you can find some way of exploiting the waste byproduct of an electric motor like the way "turbochargers" (an alternative to a supercharger) exploit the waste byproduct of the ICE (it's exhaust) then you might be onto something as they (turbochargers) don't cause any of the losses associated with supercharger use.

Alas, you can't rob Peter to pay Paul, but that shouldn't stop you from trying I suppose.

Varricks | 09. November 2019

Here's what we do: mount a sail at the front edge of the windscreen, and a belt-driven fan on the tailgate to inflate the sail.

Energy's an equation, and you don't even need math to figure it. EV's cutting the thermal losses inherent in a petroleum engine is already a massive leap forward. Until the next breakthrough in battery tech, we can hope for very small gains over what Tesla has made of the modern electric car.

blue adept | 11. November 2019

I can see the potential for a few "gains" if people ever manage to get their heads in the right space, things like increased range equal to and/or in excess of current transportation capability, improved thermal efficiencies for both motor and batteries, possibly increased battery charge and retention capability as well as an increased performance capability (Tesla has yet to build an actual "supercar" [as current Tesla vehicle capabilities already exceed all so-called ICE-based "supercar" acceleration and, honestly, just how much acceleration can the human body stand without rendering the person unconscious?], though I'm aware that there are plans for one) but, yeah, Tesla has it pretty much sorted out as the technology stands.

science-isbetter | 12. November 2019

Justend might have to be added to the ignoble list. Not sure. We can figure it out if justend answers the following question.

Are you saying you can make a Tesla more efficient or are you saying you can recharge the battery (net energy gain) by modifying the car?

blue adept | 14. November 2019

However they might choose to answer, at least people are thinking and/or making use of their brains (even if it seems as though they came up with this concept after watching an old Looney Tunes "Wile E. Coyote-Road Runner" episode).

https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/001/330/503/180.jpg

andy.connor.e | 14. November 2019

Now thats what i call a certified genius.

blue adept | 16. November 2019

FOUND IT!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuEVScVKRBQ

Look, I'm not saying that it wouldn't work, per se, just that it wouldn't CONTRIBUTE to the vehicle's overall performance but would, instead, detract from it as its use would require the sacrifice of other aspects of its functionality that would, inevitably, result in an overall depreciation of the vehicle's performance or endurance much like in the case of the supercharger I referenced in my above example.

It's about devising a means of contributing to WITHOUT detracting from the vehicle's performance, that's the goal.

Uncle Paul | 17. November 2019

How big a fan would it take to also power my house during a power outage? :)

Xerogas | 17. November 2019

@Uncle Paul: "How big a fan would it take to also power my house during a power outage? :)"
------
Twice as big as the fan required to power the first fan.

It’s fans all the way down, until you hit turtles.

blue adept | 17. November 2019

@Uncle Paul

Umm, if the power is 'out' then how do you plan to run the fan in the first place?

blue adept | 17. November 2019

In addition to my earlier comments regarding the opportunity for developing improvements in thermal efficiencies, battery charge and retention capabilities, there's also room for improvements in the sort of materials or chemicals that are used for the batteries that make up the energy storage aspect of electric vehicles, ways of improving drag coefficients, etc., etc.

Just remember...just because a thing is already done a certain way doesn't necessarily mean that that's the only way that it can be done.

Use your brains, your imagination, your dreams, and then devise ways of making those thoughts reality.

Uncle Paul | 17. November 2019

I would run a large gas powered fan...blowing towards my electicity generating fan. Maybe also able to drive my fan equipped Tesla up and down the street untill the batteries are fully charged, then plug it into my home.

Maybe not all that good an idea after all :(

blue adept | 17. November 2019

@Xerogas

Nice John Green reference and his take on the recognition of the whole self-actualization and affirmation argument.

blue adept | 17. November 2019

@Uncle Paul

Good! I'm glad that you were able to work your own way through that whole imploding, defeatist scenario.

andy.connor.e | 18. November 2019

@blue

That video is perfect. Cant you see that its worked once in the past already? Physics Shmysics.

reed_lewis | 18. November 2019

Having a fan that spins a power generating fan reminds me of the talk a while ago about putting powerful lights on top of solar panels to generate power.

Both of these ideas seem to be idiotic.

andy.connor.e | 18. November 2019

That would be perfect. Turn on some lights to generate solar power and then the panels can power the bulbs! Its free energy i tell you

blue adept | 18. November 2019

O.M.G.

https://media.giphy.com/media/27EhcDHnlkw1O/giphy.gif

Whatever in the world is this world coming to?!

blue adept | 18. November 2019

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Ross1 | 19. November 2019

As you have all said, it comes down to lost effiency. Every time you convert power it loses something, 30, 60...%

Hey, except aircon. 150% efficient. So design on aircon princilples and as the Canadians say: Voila!

blue adept | 20. November 2019

"aircon"?

tony | 07. Dezember 2019

Do you think that solar panels built into the body work would trickle charge batteries, just a thought!

TeslaTap.com | 07. Dezember 2019

@tony - Yes, but having glass body panels may not last long. You also have to orient the panel to the sun, or the solar collection drops off dramatically. Panels mounted on the sides of the car would produce very little power, perhaps not enough to even run a small fan. Of course, this also assumes you wash your car frequently, as dirt and grime also greatly reduce the solar output. Sorry to say, while it seems like having solar on a car would make sense, it really is not practical on so many levels. Cost, payback, dirt, fragility, orientation, reliability, and longevity are just a few of the problems with solar on a car.

blue adept | 09. Dezember 2019

@tony

In addition to @TeslaTap.com's comments, it would also preclude the ability to replace damaged or non-working PV panels should the need arise due to (as TT touched upon) accidents or even panel degradation due to aging, so whatever possible benefit would be marginal at best and detrimental overall regardless.

tjtbrtsrt | 01. Februar 2020

For all of the people that think perpetual motion can NOT exist. For all of you that believe that there are LAWS of any science that can NOT be violated. For all of you that think that there exists anything that is a constant in the universe
Get a clue, pay attention and realize that science is best guess. We know nothing with certainty. Everything in the universe is in a constant state of change. Sometimes that change is so small that we CHOOSE to ignore it and call it a constant.
Nothing is impossible. We just haven’t found a way to d it yes. Hell, there are still people who state that it is not possible for Tesla’s to d what they are doing. Turbines could work if you changed the shape of the turbine. Wind power could work if we use pressure and wave technology. How about the wind turbines that already exist powering smart asphalt and charge the Tesla wirelessly as they drive through induction.

TeslaTap.com | 01. Februar 2020

@tjtbrtsrt - count me in the perpetual motion does not exist crowd, but if you can make it work - go for it. I'd just hate for you to spend any money or time on such a fool's folly.

There is no such thing as wind turbines powering smart asphalt charing Tesla's wirelessly, but it is technically feasible. It's not a perpetual motion machine either.

andy.connor.e | 01. Februar 2020

If you understand how energy transfer works, you are not gaining energy by putting wind turbines on a vehicle traveling down the road.

Xerogas | 01. Februar 2020

@tjtbrtsrt: show us something that works, then

tjtbrtsrt | 02. Februar 2020

We have wind farms now. We transport that harnessed energy through power lines. Run those lines under the road Instead and the rest shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

TeslaTap.com hit upon the greatest obstacle society is facing. Money, the imaginary concept we have created. Nowhere in the world is it backed by anything but a promise and the whimsical faith in those making the promise. The greatest obstacles we have to overcome are those that we creat in our own minds, and since they were created in our minds they don’t exist in nature.

tjtbrtsrt | 02. Februar 2020

Xerogas, Tesla showed us a method of power transmission that would be virtually free. Why don’t we use it? Edison and others decided that money was more important than society. Most of the technology we need already exists but must be combined in a successful manner.

TeslaTap.com | 02. Februar 2020

@tjtbrtsrt - You hit on one major problem - the money to pay for such a system. It likely costs $10 million or more per mile of roadway to install. Then someone has to pay for the Windmills, maintenance, and dirstrubtion lines to the roadways. Lastly, every EV would have to be modified to accept wireless RF energy from the road, perhaps adding $1-2K per car. There are also major environmental impacts and it may interfere with radio and cars not designed for high-output RF energy. Some of these are solvable, but they are not simple issues. Anyway, if you have a few billion to spare for this, start tomorrow!

Yodrak. | 02. Februar 2020

"It likely costs $10 million or more per mile of roadway to install. "

And imagine the chaos during the time the roadways are being ripped up and re-built. Roads do need to be rebuilt every once in a while, but if that's going to dictate the schedule we've got a very long wait for inductive charging while we travel.

andy.connor.e | 02. Februar 2020

Roads only need to be resurfaced.

Xerogas | 02. Februar 2020

@tjtbrtsrt: "Xerogas, Tesla showed us a method of power transmission that would be virtually free. Why don’t we use it?"
------
Because it doesn’t work. Does anyone really believe power companies put up thousands of miles of high-power lines just for fun? Just to bamboozle us?

Once again, I implore you to demonstrate these superior alternatives. And what does any of this have to do with breaking the laws of thermodynamics by using small wind turbines on a car?

andy.connor.e | 03. Februar 2020

@Xerogas

On the contrary, yes power companies put up thousands of miles of high-power lines, not just for fun, but for profit. There is no money in free energy. You cannot make a business off a non-profitable source of energy. So yes actually that exactly why, to bamboozle us. Kill the competition to sustain your business model.

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