from Green Car Congress
The Wind Explorer pilot vehicle is a two-seated electromobile that weighs just 200 kg (441 lbs) and with a range of 400 kilometers (249 miles) per battery charge. The bodywork consists mainly of a carbon fiber composite with ROHACELL structural foam from Evonik Industries. Its lithium-ion batteries, based on yet another Evonik technology, are charged by a mobile wind turbine or in the conventional way from the power grid.
The Wind Explorer weighs just 80 kilograms (176 lbs) without the batteries and wind turbine. Click to enlarge.
German extreme sports enthusiasts Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer made a 17-day journey across Australia in late January of 2011 in this electric vehicle powered by wind and lithium-ion batteries. The wind turbine and a 6-meter-high telescopic bamboo mast are set up within 30 minutes. The Wind Explorer was propelled partly by parasail-style kites in addition to wind power, achieving in this way a maximum speed of about 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph) on the approximately 4,900-kilometer (3,045-mile) stretch from Albany on the Indian Ocean to Sydney. Only in exceptional cases did the drivers resort to electricity from conventional sources.
When they built the electromobile, the duo opted for a sandwich structure of carbon-fiber fabric
and a structural core of Evonik’s ROHACELL polymethacrylimide (PMI) rigid foam. This fiber plastic composite has been used for many years in aircraft, helicopters, trains, and ships, and is also rapidly gaining ground in automotive construction: ROHACELL structures allow weight savings of 60% or more over conventional steel parts.
and the lightweight bodywork was made from Evonik:
Lighter and further
When they built the electromobile, the duo opted for a tried-and-proven lightweight construction material: a sandwich structure of carbon-fiber fabric and a structural core of Evonik’s ROHACELL® polymethacrylimide (PMI) rigid foam. This fiber plastic composite has been used with great success for many years in aircraft, helicopters, trains, and ships, and is also rapidly gaining ground in automotive construction: ROHACELL® structures allow weight savings of 60 percent or more over conventional steel parts. “And every gram of weight saved reduces CO2 emissions in conventional fuel vehicles and increases the range of the electric vehicles of the future,” says Stefan Plass, who is responsible for ROHACELL® business at Evonik, describing the driving force behind developments for the automotive industry.
The high rigidity of the foam also improves the inherent rigidity of the components. And thanks to the high thermal resistance of the material, three-dimensional ROHACELL® cores are easily produced by thermoforming with short cycle times.
ROHACELL® is CFC-free and, in compliance with Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, heavy-metal-free, and is listed in the IMDS. Tests at KTH Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering in Stockholm and the University of Cranfield, and by Lotus Engineering, testify to its excellent crash properties.
Further information is available at www.rohacell.com