University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
March 4, 2013
Contact: Alice Jackson, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6639

USA Displays Record-Setting Wind-Explorer Vehicle March 4-9

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The University of South Alabama’s College of Engineering will display Evonik Industries’ Wind Explorer, a lightweight, electric vehicle that crossed Australia on less than $15 of electricity, for public viewing at Shelby Hall through Saturday, March 9.

The public may view the vehicle inside the atrium of Shelby Hall, located at 150 Jaguar Dr., 7 a.m. -- 9 p.m. daily.

“It is very exciting to have the Wind Explorer here at USA,” said Dr. John Steadman, dean of the College of Engineering. “Many of our students are planning to pursue careers in engineering following graduation, and the Wind Explorer provides insight into cutting-edge technology. We believe Evonik’s drive for a more sustainable environment will encourage our students to aspire to create similar products in the future.”

The Wind Explorer produced virtually zero emissions during a 3,000 mile journey across Australia, a distance roughly 200 miles further than from New York City to Los Angeles. The Wind Explorer was so resource-efficient that the wind turbine carried aboard could produce enough electric energy to travel 175-225 miles a day.

The vehicle, piloted by German extreme sportsmen Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer, ran on a lithium-ion battery developed from Evonik’s LITARION® electrodes and SEPARION® ceramic separators. The SEPARION® technology is non-flammable fabric woven from ceramic fibers and is manufactured exclusively by Evonik. This allows the battery cells to store energy generated from a portable wind turbine. The Wind Explorer’s lithium-ion battery technology is being used in Daimler’s new E-smart generation electric vehicles. Evonik’s silica-silane technology for rubber formulation reduced the rolling resistance of the vehicle’s tires, lowering fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

The Wind Explorer pilots set three world records during their coast-to-coast trip across Australia, including the first time a continent had been crossed by a vehicle powered by wind and lithium-ion batteries, the longest overall distance covered by an exclusively wind-powered automobile, and the longest distance covered in 36 hours by an electric and wind-powered vehicle.

“Having the Wind Explorer in Mobile is very exciting for our employees,” said Bonnie Tully, Mobile vice president and site manager for Evonik. “The vehicle’s body was constructed from a product manufactured here in Mobile called ROHACELL®, which reduced the vehicle’s weight to allow the vehicle to travel hundreds of miles by kite.”

Evonik Corporation is also featuring the Wind Explorer at its site at 4201 Degussa Road in Theodore. Evonik Corporation is one of the area’s largest employers and produces specialty chemicals for a variety of industries. Fumed silicas used for increasing the temperature stability of lipsticks, compounds used in the production of transparent plastics, and light weight foams used for aircraft engineering, are manufactured at the site.

For more information about the Wind Explorer display, call the University’s College of Engineering at (251) 460-6140, or visit


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