Generate Electricity From All Those Cars

What if we used the kinetic energy from fast moving vehicles to change a magnetic field to generate electricity? Apply the same methodology to high-speed rails and you’ve got yourself a new power source sort of speak. Benefits? Higher efficiency of generating electricity, relatively simple installation and infrastructure, no pollution and it’s not affected by most weather conditions.

Designer: Fang-Chun Tsai


  • Jarosław Ciupiński says:

    This is just so wrong… Just first try building small model with magnet and try moving it by sweeping another magnet above it (just couple of centimeters above). You may end up with very small motion of magnet in device and probably with either magnetic device that is too energy consuming (which just makes whole idea pointless) or too heavy (which increases fuel consumption and could end up in same way).

    Anyway, there was similar idea here (although wind-based) and still the biggest problem could be the costs.

  • Ivan Chai says:

    Right, burn more gas to generate electricity. Burn more oil and coal to make those wires. All at the expense of drivers and ecology. Smart.

  • brian t says:

    Repeat after me:
    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

    This is as bad as the “harvest energy from shopping carts” “design” that was shown last year. If you’re going to design anything that *might* involve Engineering, please run it past an Engineer, or an Engineering lecturer, or even a 2nd-year (sophomore) Engineering student! How many times do I need to say this?

  • Kinetic says:

    For crying out loud, does anyone do any research these days???

    These harvesting devices will add resistance to the car thus requiring more effort from the engine and so you will end up with inefficiently produced electricity. NOT free energy.

  • lm says:

    How to design:
    1. Don’t care about laws of physics. If ever understood, forget it! (in addition: industrial standards never existed)
    2. Your creativeness is now limitless, so be creative!
    3. Profit!

  • Quantum says:

    1) why such a complex design, instead of having a magnet on the car move a magnet in the road through a coil and then have to have a way to get it back to the starting point, why not just have a magnet on the car inducing current in a coil in the road?

    2) and point 1 was just in case this idea actually made sense (which it doesn’t), energy doesn’t come from no where, just like the idea of adding a wind turbine to a car doesn’t work because it increases drag and is ultimately more inefficient, this proposal would also take energy from the car, making it less efficient, my goodness, is it really that hard to do a little research of these things instead of spitting out nonsensical ideas?

  • el ing says:

    -Need strong and expensive magnets.
    -Requires a large amount of copper wire.
    -The resistance of the electromagnet in road and great mass of the magnet in car causes higher fuel consumption and therefore higher production of CO2
    -Lithium ion batteries are expensive…
    A similar idea already exists and is called dynamic braking…
    -Pretty pictures

  • Me says:

    you said it!

  • engineering_thoughts says:

    Well, you get some points for what seems like cursory research. But, it’s obvious that the designer failed to pass this idea by someone with credentials.

    Ignoring the thermodynamic issues (aka – no free lunch).

    If you have a magnet on the car, you don’t need to move another magnet on the road. Just passing a magnet over a coil is good enough to generate some electric potential. Similarly, some traffic signals use inductive coils in the road surface to detect when a car is present.

    Without ignoring natural laws… This could, feasibly work so long as you remove the “No pollution” and “higher efficiency” claims. This is, basically, a gasoline/petrol or diesel generator. The power comes from the vehicle’s engine. Car engines are extremely inefficient compared to a utility scale power plant :/ At the end of the day, you have a low efficiency generator system at best.

    If you were to make it that the system is only active when the care is braking – sure, you could recover some energy. But this system is much to small to make it noteworthy and this energy would be better served staying in the vehicle for use later…

  • Engineer Dan says:

    This violates the second law of thermodynamics.

    Any energy “gained” by the system would be energy that the engine would have to produce. Add losses into that and you really have just created an incredibly inefficient generator.

    Again, like others have said, it only makes sense during braking. And in braking, it makes way more sense to have a small recovery system inside the car.

    It boggles my mind that someone spent so much time designing something that cannot work. Looks really nice though!

  • pixelmixture says:

    dumbest thing ever … don’t talk about physics if you don’t know the basics of physics

  • There is actually a similar device that is already existing. The only difference is that it’s inside your car. That is why you have electricity in your car to charge the battery and turn on the lights etc. It is probably more efficient too.

  • Here’s why this is SO wrong, and why you should get back to school:

  • Edwin says:

    this concept is wrong on so many counts…..

    it could work on a shopping cart because the waste of energy is from yourself (good for obese people, eh?) but for the car, you are wasting energy from the fuel (which you are trying to save!)

    ’nuff said

  • Jan says:

    it’s not the first dumb “free” green energy design here – where do you find these people? It’s the kind of thinking like that youtube girl that stated that to cool the earth we could just put lots of AC along the highways…

  • Olov says:

    Except for the fact that magnets in the road would make the car/s use more fuel there is also the problem with giant magnets in the ground! Crossing the street with anything sensitive to magnetism (most electrical devices) would probably cause at least some damage to these devices…


    One should use kinetic energy from stopping cars… With a device that keeps spinning when the car breaks for a traffic light for example…

  • brian t says:

    This is already being tried e.g. Formula One cars have the KERS system, and Porsche have produced a prototype 911 with it. But cost and complexity are barriers to wider adoption.

  • Jason says: look like you are selling a concept rather a realworkable solution.
    You should work out a prototype first and measure
    how much current can be generated, i afraid just a few mA!

    2. you should tally out the worksheet for cost of materials,
    ie: how much USD per watt?if it was too expensive, no stategorverment would subside to your product.

    3. Maintenance cost, how long your product need to maintain? whether,need to shutdown the highway during maintenance period?
    seem this is a big problem that can cause the nightmare traffic jam.



  • brian says:

    A better solution has been tested in Israel. They’ve embedded piezoelectric sensors into the asphalt which generate electricity by expanding and contracting from the weight of the cars above. This system doesn’t require the car to work harder to produce electricity like this person’s idea would.

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  • Aaron says:

    A magnetic wheel sub road level as steel passed would spin it .installed on steep grades in busy highways. As a genorator would that work?

  • Mark says:

    Thank God all the know-it-all, naysayers on this page weren’t around when Thomas Edison and Ben Franklin were inventing things – just a guess, but I’m sure a few of their ideas were not exactly main stream. I think there is something there, maybe not with technology we have today, but it an interesting idea. How about all you sarcastic fools come up with some ideas?

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