Electric Generator Under the Hood
by Fritz Reuter
(Hood River, Oregon)
Alain St-Yves' electric truck with a drop-in generator
Is it possible to put a small diesel generator under the hood to recharge the batteries while you are driving?
Can the car run directly off of the generator, using the batteries as a buffer?
Would a 20 kw generator be big enough to power an electric car?
If it is impossible to provide 100% of the needed power with a 20 kw generator, how far could you go before you needed to plug in for a complete charge?
First paragraph: If the car is basically an electric vehicle, with an electric drivetrain, and the generator does nothing but charge the batteries, you're describing a series hybrid drivetrain.
The next part, "can the car run directly off the generator..." sounds like you're describing a parallel hybrid drivetrain, where either the gas or the battery can run the wheels.
Both these configurations are possible. One of the smartest series hybrid conversion I've ever seen is Le Vehicule Vert, the Chevy S-10 in the picture above. Alain is using a 5 kw generator to extend his range by about 40 miles, and then he plugs in.
The best parallel hybrid conversion I've seen is this pusher trailer. It's got a 1.6 liter engine behind it, I have no idea what that means in kw, sorry. 52 HP, if that helps; )
Mr. Sharkey, the pusher trailer's builder, says that a 30-40 kw generator is what you'd need for a series hybrid to have enough power for passing and to compensate for conversion losses... but you could certainly extend your range considerably with the 20 kw you're considering.
If the 5 kw generator gives Alain's Chevy S-10 another 40 miles, you could make some guesses about the range your 20 kw generator would add - but much would depend on your conversion.