1997 Projekt Chang Tang
In 1997, Stefan Simmerer, along with his expedition partner, became the first person to cross the Changtang without a support team. The Changtang is a cold desert of the Tibetan high plateau extending from the Himalayas to the Taklamakan desert in Central Asia. The extremely high winds of this 1000-kilometer trek gave him the idea to build a vehicle with a wind-powered generator.
Reinhold Messner said of this expedition:
"This crossing ... counts amidst the most daring adventures of the past years!”
2004 Project Earthflyer
In 2004, Dirk Gion became the first person to cross a continent on a kiteboard - a skateboard pulled by steerable kites. At speeds up to 60 km/h, the 2800 km. journey took 18 days. Dirk Gion set 2 world records with the Earthflyer project.
Germany's Kinder-Kanal (KiKa) accompanied the journey from start to finish, covering it in two dedicated programs and ten reports.
2006 Project Wind Race Car
In 2006, BMW converted a Formula -1 race car into a 'windmobile' for Dirk Gion and team. The engine, transmission and drive train were removed. Germany's Federal Aviation Office granted permission to test the vehicle for a period of three months on the runways of Sylt Airport on the North Sea. Powered only by a 16-square-meter steerable kite, the 400 kg Formula BMW clocked speeds of nearly 80 km/h.
Mario Theissen, Motorsports Director, BMW:
" ...the speeds achieved with wind alone were astonishing."
In 2009 Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer decide to partner in the consruction of a lightweight electromobile capable of being powered by a mobile wind turbine as well as pulled by steerable kites.
In 2010 Gion and Simmerer secure
Evonik as project partner. www.evonik.de
Evonik provides the battery technology via its Li-Tec Battery GmbH subsidiary and the lightweight construction components via ROHACELL.
Velomobiel of The Netherlands supplies Quest Duo prototypes as the Wind Explorer's design basis. www.velomobiel.nl
The Wind Explorer's carbon monocoque is built by Onyx Composites in Osnabrück. www.onyx-composites.de
The Wind Explorer is outfitted with an aluminium chassis by velomobiel. www.velomobiel.nl
Spleene supports the Wind Explorer with brand new kites in different sizes. www.spleene.com
Conbam supports the Wind Explorer with the bamboo for the wind turbine. www.conbam.de