Electric vehicle with energy producing system and method of using the same

Abstract

An energy-producing system comprising an axle configured to be driven by an electric vehicle's wheels when in motion. The axle supports a series of wind-catching cups contained within an aerodynamic housing configured to direct air to the cups while also increasing the air speed. During vehicle motion, the cups are acted upon by rushing air causing the rotation of the axle such that the rotation may be transferred into energy via a generator/alternator linked thereto. A series of similarly polarized magnets integrated on said cups and/or spacers and/or housing proximate thereto further maintain the axle in motion during short vehicle stops. The system extends the life of the batteries between charges as well the distance the vehicle can travel between charges. A bracket supporting a series of permanent magnets assists with driving the axle.

Claims

I claim: 1. A system for use with a vehicle comprising: an axle housing having an opening; an axle having a different wheel connected at each end thereof; a series of cups positioned about said axle, each of said series of cups configured to capture air moving through said opening in said housing to rotationally drive said axle; first magnets attached to each of said series of cups; a plurality of magnet housings, each magnet housing containing at least one permanent magnet and having a front surface, rear surface and one or more side surfaces, said plurality of magnet housings positioned in series in an arcuate arrangement proximate to said series of cups and said first magnets such that said front surface faces said series of cups, each of said magnet housings fully enclosing said at least one permanent magnet except for an opening occupying a portion of said front surface, each said opening allowing individual magnetic fields caused by each contained permanent magnet to repel at least one of said first magnets in a manner to assist in rotation of said axle; and a generator for capturing rotational energy of said axle. 2. The system of claim 1 further comprising a bracket to which said series of magnet housings attach. 3. The system of claim 1 further comprising balanced weight attached to each of said series of cups. 4. The system of claim 1 further comprising multiple spacers connected to said axle, said spacers supporting said series of said cups. 5. The system of claim 4 wherein said spacers include second magnets. 6. A system for use with a vehicle comprising: an axle housing having an opening; an axle having a different wheel connected at each end thereof; a series of cups positioned about said axle, each of said series of cups configured to capture air moving through said opening in said housing to rotationally drive said axle; first magnets attached to each of said series of cups; second magnets attached to multiple spacers, said spacers supporting said series of cups; a plurality of magnet housings, each magnet housing containing at least one permanent magnet and having a front surface, rear surface and one or more side surfaces, said plurality of magnet housings positioned in series in an arcuate arrangement proximate to said series of cups and said first magnets such that said front surface faces said series of cups, each of said magnet housings fully enclosing said at least one permanent magnet except for an opening occupying a portion of said front surface, each said opening allowing individual magnetic fields caused by each contained permanent magnet to repel at least one of said first magnets in a manner to assist in rotation of said axle; and a generator for capturing rotational energy of said axle. 7. The system of claim 6 further comprising a bracket to which said series of magnet housings attach. 8. The system of claim 6 further comprising balanced weight attached to each of said series of cups. 9. A system for use with a vehicle comprising: an axle housing having an opening; an axle having a different wheel connected at each end thereof; a series of cups positioned about said axle, each of said series of cups configured to capture air moving through said opening in said housing to rotationally drive said axle; first magnets attached to each of said series of cups; a bracket supporting a plurality of magnet housings, each magnet housing containing at least one permanent magnet and having a front surface, rear surface and one or more side surfaces, said plurality of magnet housings positioned in series in an arcuate arrangement proximate to said series of cups and said first magnets such that said front surface faces said series of cups, each of said magnet housings fully enclosing said at least one permanent magnet except for an opening occupying a portion of said front surface, each said opening allowing individual magnetic fields caused by each contained permanent magnet to repel at least one of said first magnets in a manner to assist in rotation of said axle; and a generator for capturing rotational energy of said axle. 10. The system of claim 9 further comprising balanced weight attached to each of said series of cups. 11. The system of claim 9 further comprising multiple spacers connected to said axle, said spacers supporting said series of cups. 12. The system of claim 11 wherein said spacers include second magnets.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION The embodiments of the present invention relate to an electric vehicle equipped with an energy-producing system for producing energy for use to recharge batteries powering the electric vehicle. BACKGROUND For many years, electric vehicles have been discussed as the possible solution to the United States' (and other countries') dependence on oil. However, one concern, among many, related to electric vehicles is the short battery life. Short battery life means that electric vehicles are limited to short vehicle trips between charges. Accordingly, there is a need for extending the battery life associated with electric vehicles. Advantageously, the system of extending the battery life should be self-facilitating. SUMMARY The embodiments of the present invention relate to an energy-producing system comprising an axle configured to be driven by the vehicle's wheels when in motion. The axle supports a series of wind-catching cups contained within an aerodynamic housing configured to direct air to the cups while also increasing the air speed. During vehicle motion, the cups are acted upon by rushing air causing the rotation of the axle such that the rotation may be transferred into energy via a generator/alternator linked thereto. A series of similarly polarized magnets integrated on said cups and proximate thereto (e.g., on spacers) further maintain the axle in motion during intermittent vehicle stops. The system according to the embodiments of the present invention directs the generated energy into the batteries used to drive the vehicle. In this manner, the life of the batteries between charges is increased as is the distance the vehicle can travel between charges. The system may be fabricated with an electric vehicle or added after market. Other variations, embodiments and features of the present invention will become evident from the following detailed description, drawings and claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIGS. 1A-1D illustrates perspective, top, front and rear views, respectively, of a system according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective, exploded view of the system according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 3 illustrates a front, exploded view of the system according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 4 illustrates a view of an inner wheel and pinion according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 5 illustrates a partially transparent perspective view according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a primary axle according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of the system according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 8 illustrates cups of the type associated with the system according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 9 illustrates a block diagram of a system according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 10 illustrates a first version of an alternative embodiment of the system with magnets integrated into, or positioned on, spacers proximate to cups according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 11 illustrates a second version of an alternative embodiment of the system with magnets integrated into, or positioned on, spacers proximate to cups according to the embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 12 illustrates another embodiment of the system with additional weight added to the cups according to the embodiment of the present invention; FIGS. 13A through 13C illustrate top and side views, respectively, of a magnet housing according to the embodiments of the present invention; and FIG. 14 illustrates a magnet arrangement according to the embodiments of the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles in accordance with the embodiments of the present invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Any alterations and further modifications of the inventive feature illustrated herein, and any additional applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated herein, which would normally occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention claimed. The embodiments of the present invention involve a system for generating energy useable to maintain the battery charge associated with the electric vehicle. The components making up the system may be fabricated of any suitable materials, including metals, alloys, composites, plastics and combinations thereof. The components of the system may be created using technologies which include machining, molding, rapid prototyping, casting, etc. The system described herein utilizes multiple features to generate energy for charging electric batteries to drive an associated vehicle. FIGS. 1A-1D show perspective, top, front and rear views of an energy-generating system 100 according to the embodiments of the present invention. A housing 105 is configured with a front opening 110 to capture and direct rushing air towards cups 115 configured to capture air. The housing 105 also protects the contained components from damage. From front to back, the opening 110 may be tapered (wide to thin) to increase air velocity therethrough thus increasing the energy output of the system 100 as described below. In one embodiment, the system 100 is mounted in an offset relationship to a wheel axle 150 out of the way of any drive train mechanisms associated with the vehicle. In one embodiment, the axle 150 of the vehicle inserts through oppositely positioned openings 120 in the housing 105 and openings 176 in cover plates 175 with ends inserting into vehicle wheels 101 . As described below, the axle 150 rotates within said openings 120 , 176 such that the housing 105 remains stationary. A system axle 125 inserts through a second pair of oppositely positioned openings 130 in the housing 105 and openings 121 in a cover plate 175 proximate each vehicle wheel 101 and extends generally parallel to said axle 150 . At each end, the system axle 125 joins pinions 135 (See FIG. 4 ) in communication with a vehicle's wheel rim 140 having gear teeth 145 configured to receive the pinions 135 to drive the system axle 125 while the pinions 135 remain stationary relative to the wheel rim 140 . While not shown, the system axle 125 may include a U-Joint to accommodate rough terrain. FIGS. 2 and 3 show exploded perspective and front views of the system 100 according to the embodiments of the present invention. The system 100 broadly comprises the housing 105 , system axle 125 , cups 115 supported by the system axle 125 , a first set of magnetic strips 155 attached to said cups 115 , a second set of magnetic strips 160 positioned on the housing 105 proximate to said first set of magnetic strips 155 on the housing 105 , pulley 170 configured to drive a belt, chain or similar mechanisms able to drive a generator/alternator 108 (shown in FIG. 9 ), cover plates 175 and pinions 135 . Other system items include ratchet pawls 180 , dust washers 185 , axle bearings 190 and ball cups 195 . As best shown in FIG. 6 , the system axle 125 includes a series of spacers 126 in-between which the cups 115 are attached. In one embodiment, the cups 115 are attached at each end to the spacers 126 . As seen in FIG. 8 , the attachment may be facilitated by pins 116 extending from ends of the cups 115 wherein said pins 116 are positioned to insert into openings in said spacers 126 . Other connection means such as screws, rivets, adhesives, magnets may be used as well. A space 128 between two center spacers is configured for receipt of a belt, chain, strap or similar article 107 capable of driving a generator and/or alternator 108 attached thereto. The space 128 accommodates a pulley 170 . In this manner, as the axle 125 rotates, the belt 107 drives the generator/alternator 108 to transform mechanical energy into electrical energy for storage in the vehicle's electric batteries 205 . An opening 127 in the housing 105 accommodates the passage of the belt, chain, strap or similar article which connects the axle 125 to the generator/alternator 108 allowing the rotation of the axle 125 to drive the generator/alternator 108 . The first set of magnetic strips 155 attached to said cups 115 work along with the second set of magnetic strips 160 positioned proximate thereto. In one embodiment, the second set of magnetic strips 160 act to repel and/or attract the first set of magnetic strips attached to said cups 115 thus urging the cups 115 to move. In one embodiment, the second set of magnetic strips 160 are attached to upper and lower inner surfaces of the housing 105 in proximity to the edges of the cups 115 as shown in FIG. 5 . In this manner, the cups 115 with the first set of magnet strips 155 on edges thereof tend to continue moving as the second set of magnetic strips 160 positioned proximate thereto repel and/or attract the magnetic strips 155 on the edges of the cups 115 . Such an arrangement maintains the axle 125 in motion during periods when the vehicle is at rest (i.e., at a stop sign or light). Such continuous motion causes less energy to be used to re-start the rotation of the axle 125 and causes the generator/alternator 108 to continue to transfer mechanical energy into electrical energy. The cups 115 , as shown in FIG. 8 , can take on various sizes (e.g., short or long) and shapes. The cups 115 include a defined cavity 117 configured to capture rushing air entering the front opening 110 of the housing 105 . FIG. 7 shows twelve cups 115 attached to the axle 125 between one set of spacers 126 . It is understood that more or less cups 115 may be attached to the axle 125 between spacers 126 . FIG. 7 shows the pinion 135 , cover plate 175 , first set of magnetic strips 155 and second set of magnetic strips 160 . As referenced above, in one embodiment, the housing 105 is mounted rear of the vehicle's drive system on a rear axle. To accomplish the rear mount, the pinions 135 are positioned in opposite rims 140 rear of the drive axle 150 . Other mount positions are conceivable as well. FIG. 9 shows a block diagram 200 detailing the broad aspects of the system 100 and one method for transferring mechanical energy to electrical energy for storage in the vehicle's batteries 205 . The system 100 broadly comprises the system axle 125 driven by the system components as described above. A belt 107 (or similar article) is driven by system axle 125 and thereby drives a generator/alternator 108 . The generator/alternator 108 may be any suitable generator/alternator 108 configured to transform rotational/mechanical energy into electrical energy. An electrical conduit 215 transfers the electrical energy output of the generator/alternator 108 to the vehicle's batteries 205 which receive the electrical energy for current use or stores the electrical energy for later use. FIGS. 10 and 11 show an alternative embodiment of a system 300 with additional spacer magnets integrated with, or positioned on, spacers 310 . The spacer magnets have the same polarity as the housing magnets 320 to provide additional repelling forces to drive the axle 325 , along with cup magnets 315 . The spacer magnets may be in the form of magnetic strips 305 applied, via adhesives or similar attachments means, to the outer circumferential surface of the spacers 310 such that the strip magnets 305 cover substantially the entire outer circumferential surface of the spacers 310 . In an alternative version, a plurality of spacer magnets 306 may be spaced along an outer circumferential edge of the spacers 310 . In this embodiment, the spacers 310 may be dimensioned (wider than with previously described embodiments) to provide appropriate area for the spacer magnets 305 , 306 to reside. The spacer magnets 305 may be integrated with, or positioned on, one or more of the spacers 310 . FIG. 12 illustrates modified cups 400 , 401 having pins 402 and defined cavity 403 as well as incorporating balanced weight in the form of lead 405 added to front edge 410 of the cups 400 . The added balanced weight on the front edge 410 improves the efficiency of the cups 400 . Lead weights may also be added to an alternator pulley and spacers between the cups 400 . While lead 405 is used in one embodiment, other materials may be used to add weight to the front edge 410 of the cups 400 . FIGS. 13A through 13C illustrate top, side and side cross-sectional views, respectively, of a magnet housing 455 according to the embodiments of the present invention. In a first embodiment, a bracket 450 (seen in FIG. 14 ) supports a series of magnet housings 455 - 1 through 455 - 3 . Each magnet housing 455 - 1 through 455 - 3 comprises a bottom 460 and circular wall 465 circumscribing the same. A top 470 partially covers the contained permanent magnet 475 . The bottom 460 , circular wall 465 and top 470 are configured to impede the magnetic field generated by the permanent magnet 475 contained therein. While shown as a circular housing. It is recognized that the housing may take on other shapes. An open space 480 at the top of the housing 455 allows the magnetic field generated by the permanent magnet 475 to disperse freely therethrough. In this manner, the direction and area of the magnetic field are controlled as discussed below. FIG. 14 illustrates a permanent magnet arrangement according to the embodiments of the present invention. The stationary bracket 450 is positioned proximate to the cups 115 , axle 125 and spacers 310 such that the open space 480 serves to repel the magnets 305 , 306 on the spacers 310 and magnets 155 on cups 115 thereby forcing assistance to the rotation of the axle 125 . In one embodiment, the bracket 450 holds three magnet housings 455 - 1 through 455 - 3 and contained magnets for each spacer 310 . In one such embodiment, the bracket is forward, beneath or rearward of the axle 125 and the three magnet housings 455 - 1 through 455 - 3 are arranged in close proximity to one another with the open space 480 of each positioned to successively repel the magnets 305 , 306 on the spacers 310 and magnets 155 on the cups 115 and any other component that may carry magnets. As shown, the bracket 450 is positioned below the axle 125 and cups 115 . As set forth above, the bracket 450 may be positioned elsewhere proximate to the axle 125 . The three magnet housings 455 - 1 through 455 - 3 and contained magnets 475 - 1 through 475 - 3 are substantially bunched together to provide the most effective repelling effect on the magnets 305 , 306 on the spacers 310 and magnets 155 on the cups 115 . The three magnet housings 455 - 1 through 455 - 3 are similarly positioned such that the open spaces 480 - 1 through 480 - 3 of each create an aggregate repelling effect to drive the magnets 305 , 306 on the spacers 310 and magnets 155 on the cups 115 . Arrows “A” show the direction of the repelling effect. While one permanent magnet 475 - 1 through 475 - 3 is shown in each housing 455 - 1 through 455 - 3 , it is understood that multiple permanent magnets can be contained within each housing and more or less than three housings may be used. In another embodiment, the system 100 may be used as a source of electricity for a home site or camp ground. In such an embodiment, the drive wheels of the vehicle are elevated to prevent the vehicle from moving. Belts over slightly deflated drive wheels are used to drive one or more generators while the vehicle's accelerator is depressed using suitable means therefore. The output of the one or more generators may then be used to provide electricity to a camp site or house or RV. Although the invention has been described in detail with reference to several embodiments, additional variations and modifications exist within the scope and spirit of the invention as described and defined in the following claims.

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