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Wind-powered car drives upwind

Wind-powered cars have to be able to drive upwind. A Canadian scientific club has constructed a car that includes Kvaser’s Leaf Professional HS. It debugs the onboard electronics via a CAN network.

(Photo: Kvaser)

THE CHINOOK ETS SCIENTIFIC CLUB'S PURPOSE is to design a wind-propelled vehicle with the ability to drive into a headwind. Based at École de Technologie Supérieure University, in Montreal (CA) the Chinook team competes in the international event Racing Aeolus in Holland each year. Teams from all over the world meet at Racing Aeolus to match designs for wind turbine vehicles.

The Chinook team and their wind-powered car (Photo: Kvaser)

In 2012, Chinook ETS were the champions at Racing Aeolus. In 2013, they set the record with a vehicle speed of 82,6 % of the wind speed while heading into the wind. August 2014 was even better, as Alexandre Lupien-Bédard says: “We broke the world record for this type of wind turbine car as the vehicle was going at 96,91 % of the wind speed towards the wind.”

On the back of this performance, the Chinook team took home prizes including:

  • First place, Racing Aeolus 2014
  • World record of the vehicle speed vs. wind speed
  • Fastest race, Racing Aeolus 2014
  • Most innovative design
The Chinook team and their wind-powered car (Photo: Kvaser)

Kvaser (Sweden) sponsors the Chinook ETS team as they begin designing the fifth version of their vehicle. In the new design, the team will be trading out their mechanical drivetrain and replacing it with a generator-converter-motor system. This design will be more ‘electric’ than in the past, and will increase vehicle control and efficiency. A Kvaser Leaf Professional HS will be key in debugging the onboard electronics via the CAN network, while a Memorator Light HS will give the ability to perform standalone data logging during tests.

The Chinook team and their wind-powered car (Photo: Kvaser)

The Leaf Professional HS is a one channel, high performance, USB interface for CAN. The interface offers connection between the user’s PC and CAN network. It includes Kvaser's patented Magi-Sync feature for synchronized time-stamping, galvanic isolation for protection against voltage spikes, and auto transmit for placing messages on the network at set intervals. It is equipped with a 110 cm USB cable and a 30 cm CAN cable.

The Kvaser Memorator Light HS is a tool for logging serial data, which does not require preconfiguration or software setup. It was designed for troubleshooting any CAN-based system. The device logs all CAN traffic in a circular buffer, overwriting the oldest data when the buffer becomes full.

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