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Electric Generator Under the Hood

by Fritz Reuter
(Hood River, Oregon)

Alain St-Yves' electric truck with a drop-in generator

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?

Hi, Fritz!

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.


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Diesel Electric ??
by: Anonymous

I dont know whether it would be series or parallel hybrid nor do I care about these new fangled modern era terms.

Motors batteries and generators have been used for years. Nothing new WWII diesel electric submarines had 4 batteries two driveshafts for the propellors and diesels to drive the driveshafts.

Strait diesel electric has been used by Wa State ferries for decades.

1 will diesel electric work -- YES
2. Will the diesel generator charge the battery and power the motor while driving at "average" road conditions YES -- IF it has the capacity
Basically the diesel would supply motor current and some more current to the battery.
3. Will the diesel be able to provide enough power for passing YES -- IF it has the capacity
BUT why carry that MUCH more generation?
let the batteries supply the high power surge imposed by passing.

Dan Bentler

The BEST hybrid conversion is Cleanova system
by: Antonio Perez

I think the best hybrid conversion, series or parallel, is the Cleanova II system tested in a Kangoo Renault car.

Cleanova system have, besides the electric motor and battery, a gas motor and a generator; however, this last one can also be used as second electric motor to power the wheels. The system have 3 modes of operation that can be manually selected. 1-Zero pollution mode: like standard EV, gas motor is off. 2-Reload mode: gas motor moves the generator to reload batteries, the car don't moves. 3-Hybrid voyage mode, that have in turn 2 sub-modes: 3a-Series hybrid: gas motor moves the generator to keep the load level of the battery even at high speeds. The voyage can continue indefinitely (while gas lasts). 3b-Parallel hybrid: The three engines (the original one, the generator acting as motor and taken it's power from batteries, and the gas motor) are joined together in mechanical connection with the wheels. The total power output (about 100 kW) is used for motorway speeds and crossing slopes.

Thanks for that, Antonio. I can't tell if Cleanova is still in business, but it kinda looks like not.
- Lynne

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