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Until the day that wireless or fast electric vehicle chargers become pervasive, EV owners will need to try out alternatives to cut down fueling time – such as a battery charging trailer.
A French company recently rolled out its EP Tender, a trailer with a 600cc engine that can recharge your battery while driving. The EP Tender monitors the car's battery pack and when the power gets low enough, the engine kicks in to recharge while driving continues. The trailer can deliver up to 22 kilowatts of power, and the maker is looking at a 900cc engine that could produce 35 kW, too.

Right now, the Tender is still in the prototype testing phase, with additional usage envisioned for an electric motorcycle or a plug-in hybrid car. Another interesting side note is that the 600cc engine comes from the Tata Nano.

As Autoblog Green has reported, there are a few EV trailers out there. Germany's Ministry of Economics and Technology helped fund the first "ebuggy" prototype. Satellite navigation technologies in the Stuttgart-based ebuggy were impressive enough for it to win the European Satellite Navigation Competitoion 2012 for the Hessen region. Electric Motors and Vehicles Company (EMAV) has tested out another e-trailer powered with its Power Regeneration Unit (PRU). EMAV described the PRU as a "self-propelled electric vehicle power regernatiuon system that substantially extends the range of any electric vehicle."

Of note: Today's mainstream, modern EVs aren't actually designed to drive while charging. This charger trailer solution would seem to require either a hack or DIY conversion, then. Of course, wireless charging is waiting in the wings, as well.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      markrogo
      • 3 Months Ago
      If you want to ensure there is never any public acceptance of EVs, you should promote this idea aggressively. Otherwise, you should ignore it.
      yoat
      • 3 Months Ago
      Its' really astonishing at times to what extent some people will go just to be difficult. It can be had so much easier. Look at: http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10084/161_read-8869/year-all/
        • 3 Months Ago
        @yoat
        Yes, I've been looking about such free piston generators. As soon as they exist at competivive price I will mount them on EP Tender (but I fear it might take a decade). Larger and premium cars will carry them onboard with less constraints than classic ICE which have less power density. This highlights the capacity to adapt to technology improvements by renting a Tender and owning an EV, rather than owning a PHEV or EREV (apart from cost, electric range, weight, etc).
        CoolWaters
        • 3 Months Ago
        @yoat
        Looks great. Hope Nissan and Ford see it.
      Ethan for EV
      • 3 Months Ago
      This seems like a pretty cool and innovative option. Though it may not be most practical to tow an engine, it shows that there is definitely something bigger and better coming! Exciting stuff!
      Captain Stu
      • 3 Months Ago
      Genius! If it has similiar performance to a Volt, etc. Initially I thought it was a secondary battery, that would probably be more expensive.
      jeff
      • 1 Year Ago
      This makes a lot of sense for the few times you need to drive long distances...
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Long Ranger lives! http://www.tzev.com/2001_rxt-g_.html
      lad
      • 1 Year Ago
      Kinda points out the immediate need for a "better battery," doesn't it? And, the first company out with a higher density, less-expensive replacement battery package for the Leaf and/or other production cars, i.e., a higher capacity battery for The Volt, will become wealthy overnight.
        jeff
        • 3 Months Ago
        @lad
        Not really.... Most people would only need to use this occasionally. Why drag around the extra weight of an engine and all that goes with it for these few occasions...?
          lad
          • 3 Months Ago
          @jeff
          Yes really! The best would be a longer range EV; however,there are still Volt owners who don't trust just batteries but want a longer range than 30 miles on only batteries. There will be at least one company who will have a longer range Lithium Sulfur Battery in production next year. Perhaps this is the break we need in batteries.. http://www.hybridcars.com/oxis-jump-starts-first-commercialization-of-lithium-sulfur-batteries/
      bluepongo1
      • 3 Months Ago
      The obvious benefit to this product is: sending all the bed wetters with range anxiety a link to this page. Since the bed wetters can't plan charging / battery swaps, rent a car, use public transportation, use a train or plane, and don't have any family or friends that will help with trips beyond BEV range ( and they won't STFU.) . :-)
      Marcopolo
      • 3 Months Ago
      Like battery swapping, I read about this idea in a late 1950's edition of a "Popular Science" type magazine. These idea's seem so logical at first glance, and obscure little firms with oddball engineers, earnestly assume that because they think it's a good idea, everyone else will too ! Sadly, this is seldom the case, and after a few examples are produced, disappear into the obscurity of history ! I'm slowly assembling a museum of these eccentric oddities. ( Idea's, whose 'time' never came. ). As Peter Scott rightly points out, the idea is pretty daft ! Very few EV's are equipped with tow bars ! The whole point of a commuter EV is that it provides convenient, environmental, commuter transport. Towing a heavy generator is neither convenient, nor practical. Most women, (and I suspect most EV drivers) find maneuvering a trailer difficult. The first gradient would affect the EV's battery capacity dramatically, and defeat the whole point of an EV. Why not just buy an EREV or PI-Hybrid ? When I first bought my LERR. I installed a generator in the double horse float I intended to tow, thinking that I would use the generator to extend the range of the EV. I never found a single occasion to use the generator, and finally removed it from the float. ! It's just more convenient to take the time, and wait for the EV to charge from the grid. But the real killer of this idea is, like battery swapping, charging and battery technology (ESD) is moving so quickly as to render concepts like this obsolete, long before they can achieve commercialization. As 'markrogo' point out, this sort of oddball device only brings the EV's mocker's and detractors out in droves, to the embarrassment of EV owners and manufacturers. If this was a practical idea, don't you think Carlos Ghosn would have promoted the product years ago and Renault -Nissan be offering this as an optional service ?
        Puck
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        As I stated above, EREVs are the future. Not EVs. They can be a part of it though. EREVs will make the real impact.
          Marcopolo
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Puck
          @ Puck "EREVs are the future. Not EVs" Tell that to Tesla ! ( Or Renault-Nissan ) EV's are the future, EREV's, are the present !
      Spec
      • 3 Months Ago
      Oh I agree . . . it will be years before something like this may become available. It really would require an industry-agreed upon standard. But eventually, it could happen.
      • 3 Months Ago
      My vote is for the Germans and their e-buggy battery trailer, instead of hooking a 16% efficient gasoline powered generator to my electric car.
      PeterScott
      • 1 Year Ago
      I get chuckles from how often this stupid idea gets repeated. Most households are multi-car. Most poeple in that case would simply use their regular gas car for long trips, not rent some kind of stupid trailer for an EV. Or just rent a gas car. Again a better option than renting some stupid trailer. Epic stupid.
        Spec
        • 3 Months Ago
        @PeterScott
        What if you move to a different state? This gives you a way to drive your EV there. What's wrong with having additional ways of doing things?
        ElectricAvenue
        • 3 Months Ago
        @PeterScott
        Or travel by train or airplane, then rent a car. Maybe the rental will be an EV...
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