Toyota proposes installing a wind turbine system in their electric cars to harness wind energy in one of their recent patent applications.
The invention not only will provide extra electricity to the batteries of an electric vehicle but will also increase its performance by reducing air drag. This will be decreasing the fuel/recharge cost significantly.
The patent application by Toyota also discloses using the harnessed airflow in cooling braking system or radiator for enhancing its performance. Also, as per the speed or temperature of these components, the amount of airflow could be increased to speed up cooling.
There will be air inlet in such an EV (electric vehicle) on its bumpers. The air outlets will be placed near one of the wheels. The micro wind turbines will be positioned near the air inlet.
The air inlet sucks the air in that hits the front bumper and sends it to the outlet through the air channel inside. Inside the air channel, wind turbine would be placed.
The patent mentions using a wind turbine having a configuration of the type showed in the image below. This configuration minimizes airflow disturbance in the central portion of the air channel.
In the picture, you can see there is a central wind turbine and peripheral wind turbines. The peripheral wind turbines can be angled toward center to receive more airflow to increase production of electricity.
Also, the peripheral wind turbines are designed to re-direct airflow along portions of braking system to enhance cooling. The benefit of the design is that these turbines could be directed toward a specific portion of braking system that needs cooling.
The determination which portion of braking system needs cooling will be determined by keeping multiple factors in account – temperature, speed of a vehicle, etc.
Toyota seems to more careful about aerodynamics as they are not using side mirrors in its hybrid or driverless cars, but cameras.