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How much exercise do you have to do to power a Car

If you haven’t seen The Grand Tour w Jeremy Clarkson (formerly known for his 15 Year stint with Top Gear and the BBC) - it’s a highly popular car comedy show.  In a recent episode there's "An Ecological Piece" where the hosts had the quest to harvest energy from everyday activities. So some used dog harnessed buggies and some used harnessed up children during recess to charge cellphones.

In the end the 3rd host James attempts to collect electricity from all the people working out at this gym in London. 

Let's call it exercise-based electricity generation to power his car.


He had a Cross Training gym help them power and charge up a car.

For 8 hours they hooked up 10 machines to a generator system to produce electricity for the electric car.



So the watts don't just brighten your indoor existence; they can light up your ride, too.  The same energy used to make bulbs glow is similar to what you can create on our bikes and rowers without a plug.  Your manmade power comes from within - or more specifically, the combination of RPMs, torque and such.

Watts measure how hard you work.  One horse, for example, can produce 746 watts.  One elite level Tour de France cyclist can create a charge of 1,900 watts in a single bike sprint.  Although they avg about 250 watts during a four-hour tour ride.

So is 250 watts?  It’s subjective because it derives that number from a combination of bodyweight, strength (torque/leverage) and overall fitness.  So jump on the Assault Bike and Rower and see what level of average wattage you can produce for 30sec, 1min, 5 min.

If 200lb man and a 125lb woman are producing the same wattage, the female will be going way faster on the bike because she's obviously strong and pulling less weight. 


Anyway – back to the gym.  How far do you think the car got after 8 hours of charging from workouts?


34 kms.

Not bad except you could also use $5 of petrol to do this as well.  So harvesting energy from everyday human activities may help a cellphone but that's a lot of energy extended for a small vehicle to go thirty clicks.