I am contemplating a conversion, and wanted to know if anyone has tried to hook up a generator to be run mechanically from the motion of the vehicle?
I'm thinking a 4X4 small pickup truck, with the rear axle powered, and the front IFS axles rotating a portable or set of portable generators to recharge the batteries as it rolls down the road.
If I go for a pair of 5kw generators, what type of range improvement might I expect?
Hi, Bill - The answer to your first question is yes. People have tried to use a generator to capture energy from the mechanical motion of the car rolling down the road. Trouble is, it creates drag. The prevailing wisdom - and the second law of thermodynamics - would say that the total equation works out NOT in your favor, except in the case of braking, where you can use the controller to put the wasted mechanical energy back into your battery pack.
The guys in the video above just might prove the prevailing wisdom wrong, though, with their regenerative acceleration idea. It's a project at the University of Ottawa. Watch it and see what you think!
As for the portable generators to extend your range? I know somebody who's tried this with great success. There's an interview with him for you to read up there on the left, called "Build your own plug in hybrid". That's what he did. He just added one 5kw portable generator, and it lets him extend his range quite a bit - another 40 miles on a charge.