One thing I want to point out, is "All" the details on exactly how this works, was not printed...for obvious reasons...And he has already applied for his Patent, and has a Application Number...
Balch Springs man comes up with water wheel-inspired design to power electric cars
08:08 AM CDT on Monday, April 13, 2009
By TERRY BOX / The Dallas Morning News
The spark for Tony Thompson's electric car came to him three years ago while he was driving on a Dallas freeway. Thompson, a construction manager for a telecommunications company and novice inventor, heard a story on the radio in his Chevy Impala about the challenge automakers face in finding batteries with enough range to make electric cars practical.As the son of a migrant worker, he recalled the image of a mill next to a stream, powered by a water wheel. And that's when the idea hit him.
"This is something that could save GM's life," said Thompson, a Balch Springs resident who has a patent pending on his electric-car concept and is talking to an undisclosed automaker about it.
His approach – which he developed over the last couple of years at night and on weekends – is simple. He envisions a tank in a car filled with antifreeze. A single 12-volt battery would provide the juice to a high-volume pump that would push the fluid through a pipe to a small water wheel housed in a container roughly the size of a large shoebox.
An axle connects the water wheel to a 240-volt generator. As the antifreeze spills across the water wheel's paddles under pressure, turning the generator, the generator shoots power to the pump as well as the electric motors that move the vehicle. The fluid then would be pumped back to the tank, where the process would start again.
"There's no reason this won't work," said Thompson, 52, who was born in Dallas but spent much of his youth in Oklahoma, Arizona, Illinois and other states where his mother worked the fields. "Everything I need to make this work – except the electric motors – would cost under $300."
Even better, he says, his system doesn't rely on the large, expensive battery packs and complex electronics found in most electric cars.
Although pure electric cars are getting increasing attention from major automakers these days, most are still expensive and have limited range – many can go no more than 100 to 150 miles before their batteries are depleted and need a recharge.
Thompson hopes his concept for a cheap, mass-produced electric car will free people from their dependence on imported oil. Though electric cars also have environmental benefits, Thompson says he is more interested in the societal aspects of such a car.
"You could replace combustion engines in city fleets and government fleets," he said. "If you're working for minimum wage, this is an electric vehicle you could afford, and you wouldn't have to pay for gas again. Mpg? There is no mpg."
Doubts about system
Some electric-vehicle experts doubt his technology, which for now is theoretical. Thompson filed his own patent application and has no financial backers but plans to build a working model.
"If he does a calculation, he will find that moving that fluid through those pipes is a terribly difficult process," said Ron Freund, a California engineer and chairman of the Electric Auto Association. "I guarantee you he will have more energy losses than gains."
Likewise, Michael Brace of EVWorld.com doubts that the system could generate enough power to propel anything larger than a golf cart.
"I don't think a 12 volt-based pump will drive a car down the road," he said.
But Brace – an inventor himself – said he encourages tinkerers and garage entrepreneurs such as Thompson. With interest in electric vehicles at an all-time high, he receives at least three ideas a week on novel ways to power cars and trucks.
Increasingly, he said, frustrated consumers are seeking ways to cut their ties to oil companies and electric utilities.
"It's getting to the point where people are associating electric cars with not paying the Saudis anymore, with reducing greenhouse gases," said Brace, who is developing a new type of hydroelectric generator. "These are little straws that are starting to break the camel's back."
Keeping the faith
Thompson remains confident of his design.
He says he has experience with hydraulic pumps and can easily find one with enough pressure to generate the power he needs.
"What does an electric motor need to work?" he said.
"You apply power and it turns. Until we get one built and see how it runs, we can't find a single flaw in it."
Even if Thompson beats the odds and his electric-car concept makes it to market, he says he intends to give away more than he might earn from the idea. For a while as a boy, he lived in a car in Lindsay, Okla., with his sister and mother. He bathed in the Washita River each morning before heading off to second grade.
"My intent is to get my idea into the hands of someone who can make it work," said Thompson, the father of eight children.
"My intent also is to give away more than I keep. There's no reason food banks should be empty. There are so many people with needs. Why not use this to reach out to them?"