Turns out, you can drive a unique electric vehicle all the way across Australia on less than $15 worth of electricity. You just need some kite assistance (or, yes, solar power). The Wind Explorer that made this trek is now on display at Evonik's New Jersey office, since the company worked on the quirky EV.

The 3,000-mile trip was piloted by German extreme sportsmen Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer. The car is powered by a lithium-ion battery from Evonik's Litarion electrodes and Separion ceramic seperators. These technologies are exclusively manufactured by Evonik and allow its battery cells to store energy generated from a portable wind turbine. The Wind Explorer also used large, steerable kites to cover hundreds of miles in crosswinds during its test run Down Under.

The Wind Explorer's high energy efficiency also comes from lightweight materials and a rubber formulation that reduces the rolling resistance of its tires. The electric car was constructed from Evonik's Rohacell sandwich carbon fiber, which reduced the body weight and makes travel by kite that much easier. The Wind Explorer is capable of generating enough energy to move 175 to 225 miles a day, powered by its onboard wind turbine. "The technologies in the Wind Explorer are examples of how our products can improve the resource-efficiency of automobiles," Tom Bates, president of Evonik, said in a press release (available below).

While we won't see kite-cars on the roads, some of the technologies in the Wind Explorer could find their way to production vehicles. Evonik has been working with Daimler for the past five years on a joint venture to produce li-ion batteries for Daimler's hybrids and EVs.
Evonik Showcases Record-Setting, Self-Sufficient Vehicle At Its Parsippany Center

PARSIPPANY, N.J., January 18, 2013

Innovative Wind Explorer Cruised 3,000 Miles Across Australia For Less Than $15

Evonik Corporation is featuring the Wind Explorer – a lightweight, electric vehicle that crossed Australia on less than $15 of electricity – at its administrative center in Parsippany, N.J.

The vehicle, piloted by German extreme sportsmen Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer, ran on a lithium-ion battery developed from Evonik's LITARION®electrodes and SEPARION® ceramic separators. The SEPARION® technology is manufactured exclusively by Evonik and allows the battery cells to store energy generated from a portable wind turbine. Evonik's silica-silane technology for rubber formulation reduced the rolling resistance of the vehicle's tires, lowering fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

"The Wind Explorer demonstrates how environmentally-friendly automobiles can be today and showcases Evonik's drive for sustainability," said Tom Bates, president of Evonik Corporation. "Evonik continuously seeks to help our customers enhance their products. The technologies in the Wind Explorer are examples of how our products can improve the resource-efficiency of automobiles."

The vehicle produced virtually zero emissions during the 3,000 mile Australian journey, a distance roughly 200 miles further than from New York City to Los Angeles. The Wind Explorer was constructed from Evonik's ROHACELL® sandwich carbon fiber, reducing the body's weight to allow the vehicle to travel hundreds of miles by kite. The Wind Explorer was so resource efficient that the wind turbine carried aboard could produce enough energy to travel 175-225 miles a day.

"We are very excited to have the Wind Explorer here in Parsippany," said Dr. Peter Knopf, vice president and head of regional services at Evonik Corporation. "This is a remarkable vehicle highlighting some of our most innovative technologies. Now we will be able to give our employees and visitors an opportunity to see first-hand how Evonik is bringing value and creative solutions to the automotive industry."

The Wind Explorer pilots set three world records during their coast-to-coast trip across Australia, including the first time a continent had been crossed by a vehicle powered by wind and lithium-ion batteries, the longest overall distance covered by an exclusively wind-powered automobile, and the longest distance covered in 36 hours by an electric and wind-powered vehicle.

For additional information about Evonik in North America, please visit our website:www.evonik.com/north-america. Please visit us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/EvonikNorthAmerica. Follow us on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/EvonikN_America.

About Evonik
Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik's corporate strategy. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.

Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2011 more than 33,000 employees generated sales of around €14.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €2.8 billion.

In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a kiteboarder, I find this pretty cool. I'm still partial to windsurfing though. You can sometimes see guys driving around kite buggies at one of the beaches near me. They can get going pretty fast on sand. Since these Aussies were on hard road, I'd like to know what top speed they were able to achieve. Kites aren't just for board and buggies though. Here's a guy with a cool cataman setup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzN8ziJZqQE They're also experimenting with using kites to help pull large cargo ships, which ABG has reported on before.
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Fords plant at Dagenham can produce millions of engines every year for Ford cars around the world using wind power you would have thought using small wind turbines would be a good cheap way of charging your electric car up for free for the whole of your life is the way to go. Local electric company buys your excess electric supply when it's windy to supply tle the local grid, then let you have a free supply when it's a calm still day.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Without trucks on the road going 120 kmh, that shape and model of car would be great for an EV that had a fast charger... You really need to be able to get up to 1000 km a day in the Outback though...
      Neil Blanchard
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's odd not to mention the vehicle itself is a DuoQuest velomobile: http://www.velomobiel.nl/duoquest/ It is built by Allert Jacobs, I believe. Where is the wind turbine and what the heck are the pipes sticking out of the back? Neil
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        The wind turbine can be set up when parked. The large "pipe" is its bamboo pylon.
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is not an electric vehicle, it is a wind vehicle.
        • 2 Years Ago
        It has a battery and an e-motor (4kw I think). The kite is mostly used to assist the motor to safe energy (like with container ships).
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