Note: I am not a scientist and not even an automobile or mechanical engineer. These are some of the ideas that have been lingering in my mind for a long time and I don’t even know if they are technically feasible. If these can generate some interests in the experts of relevant fields, my goal is accomplished. This is written purely in a layman’s language.
The fundamental idea is to convert the forces that are working against us into the forces that work for us.
Energy capturing opportunities:
There are three important types of forces that work against the vehicle while the vehicle is running as shown in the picture
Solar - This energy is uncapitalized as of now though research is being conducted to mount solar panels on the body of the vehicle.
Braking Energy – Braking results in energy loss during the process and also works against the durability of braking system. Inventions in regenerative braking have already made tremendous progress and are introduced in few hybrid vehicles.
Rolling Resistance – This comes into picture at lower speeds.
I don’t have any suggestions in the above areas as extensive research is already being done there. My field of interest is in reducing the Air Resistance encountered by the vehicle during the movement that substantially consumes the energy.
Air Resistance -This is of importance as this discussion involves around making the best use of Air Resistance.
Air resistance is proportional to the speed of the vehicle.
Food For Thought
Air creates resistance as it encounters the obstructions. In the case of vehicles, it is predominantly the front portion of the vehicle.
“Let the air pass through the vehicle”
The idea is to let the air pass through the vehicle as much as we could, so that the resistance is minimized. It is practically not possible to completely eliminate the air resistance. There will certainly be the issues that one has to consider while designing such mechanism as it could result in vehicle instability and wobbles, but the experts can find work arounds.
I am not a technical person in these matters, I feel that optimized design of these air passages can in fact lift the vehicle (like that of Air Plane) to reduce the ‘rolling friction’ further.
“Let the air pass over mini turbines”
By careful design, one could think of implanting mini turbines that can produce electricity while the jet of air passes over them. This energy will be fed into the battery for further use by the vehicle system as described below.
The other use of this jet air could be to enhance the cooling system in side the vehicle.
“Put them all together”
An ideal vehicle would be the vehicle that smartly harnesses energy from all the resisting forces and converts them into helping hands. This is what we can call it an “Energy Farming Vehicle.”