To some people, electric cars can seem a little pointless. That electricity you’re using instead of gas is often produced by gas, coal, or another similar method. But what if you could charge your car on wind energy?

Driving Like the Wind

A similar turbine to the ones that will be installed at the park. Image credit Sun Sentinal

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, powering up your car might not mean a trip to the gas station. By the end of the year, residents will be able to plug in their vehicles at a wind-powered charging station next to Mills Pond Park. The turbines used are a vertical model with intertwining blades, reaching as high as 55 feet in the air. The design is beautiful as well as functional, meaning it will actually add to the look of the park. And since the blades are vertical, they offer no risk to the park’s avian wildlife.

This isn’t the first charging station in the area, but it’s the first one powered by wind. The reason it’s next to a park is pretty simple: while you’re waiting for your car to charge up, you can take a walk, have a picnic, or even take advantage of the wind by flying a kite.

Technically, the turbines won’t directly be powering the charging station – they’ll be feeding into the park’s overall electrical system. This helps ensure that excess energy won’t get wasted, and that a backup supply will still let you charge your car, even if there’s been a shortage of wind. For Fort Lauderdale residents, it’s a win-win situation.

Combining Function and Appearance

Last week’s post discussed the importance (or unimportance) of the way a turbine looks. In urban settings, the design of a turbine can have a huge impact on the success of an installation. In the Fort Lauderdale case, the turbines are being installed in a public park – which means that the look needs to actively enhance the recreational area.

Vertical turbines are a great choice for this kind of installation, since they are safe for wildlife, quiet, and tend to look better in an urban setting. If Fort Lauderdale’s turbine-based charging system works out, there’s a good chance that we’ll start seeing turbines in many more parks in the future.



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