Electric cars are not as popular as regular cars in India. In fact, the EV culture is at its novice stage at the moment where only a handful of people are choosing electric cars. One of the primary reasons for the unpopularity of EVs is the charging infrastructure in India. Due to the almost non-existent charging infrastructure, people are trying to get an alternate source of energy on the go. Here is a Tata Nexon EV with a windmill on its roof.
The video is from Rajkot, Gujarat, where a Tata Nexon EV was spotted with a legit windmill on its roof. While we are not sure about the exact motive behind this installation but it is likely that the person is trying to charge the vehicle on the move to get extra range. The set-up does look interesting but is only a good idea on paper. It is not at all practical. Can you tell us why?
Well, the idea is not efficient by design. The small windmill on the top of the car seems to be only a toy model and it would not generate any kind of power to charge the massive batteries of the Tata Nexon EV.
But why is it a bad design?
Windmills are heavy and the video shows that the person has installed a steel platform to mount the windmill. The whole set-up definitely adds a lot of weight to the car. Now, heavier vehicles need more energy to move and since this vehicle is now heavier, it will use more energy from the battery pack and reduce the range of the vehicle anyway. Lighter vehicles offer more range as the electric motor has to do less work and draws less power. It is the same principle as lightweight vehicles deliver more fuel efficiency.
If that is not enough, then you should know that windmills do not generate a massive amount of power. They function by using the flow of the wind to move the blades that in turn rotate the dynamo to produce electricity. A windmill of this size will have to move at a very high speed to generate any significant kind of electricity to charge any electric car. The massive commercial windmills that you see in the windmill farms produce about 1.5 kW at their highest speed. Now a small turning atop a car on a public road full of traffic will not be able to do much better.
Another problem that this design adds is the drag. Since the windmill utilises the flow of the wind, it increases the drag coefficient by a huge number. It means that the engine will have to work more to overcome the drag created by the wind turbine on the roof. This means more energy to move the car and reduced range.
So better ways to increase the range?
EVs return the best range in the city traffic. Since most of the electric cars get regenerative braking, driving them inside the city limits ensures maximum range. Nonetheless, keep the right footl ight and the regeneration on the highest level to get the maximum range out of the EV. Yes, there are a few prototype vehicles that use solar panels to feed the batteries but they are just prototypes at the moment.