We’ve written about electric cars on numerous occasions here and it’s great that consumers are starting to be more accepting of such vehicles. The problem of course is the limited range an electric vehicle has to offer at the moment. If you’re purchasing it as a city car only, then it’s totally fine but the average household can’t afford to have an electric car just for driving around town.
To get an idea of why people have range anxiety, here are the approximate ranges on some of the electric cars on the market today. These numbers will be different for each owner since you have to factor in driving habits, traffic, and even the outside temperature.
Examples of Approximate EV Range
Chevy Spark EV – 82 Miles
Volkswagen e-Golf – 83 Miles
Ford Focus Electric – 76 Miles
Kia Soul Electric – 90 Miles
Nissan Leaf – 84 Miles
Fiat 500E – 87 Miles
Mitsubishi i-Miev – 66 Miles
The Tesla Model S doesn’t count as the average consumer cannot afford such a vehicle but its range of 208 to 253 miles is more ideal.
The folks over at KSPG Automotive are here to put an end to range anxiety for electric vehicle owners. Their solution is to use a tiny petrol motor to keep the batteries charged allowing for a longer range. The KSPG Range Extender is a small two-cylinder petrol motor which fits in the trunk where the spare tire should be.
Plug-in Hybrids also use a small gasoline engine and with this system, you’re sort of turning your EV into a PHEV. Surprisingly, having the two-cylinder motor in the back of the vehicle is actually quiet and vibration-free with the passengers hardly noticing the motor running. Once the batteries in the vehicle start to run low, the Range Extender motor kicks in and supplies the batteries with power.
If car companies were to adapt to a system like this, they would not have to worry as much when it comes to battery size thus reducing costs and weight. The biggest advantage would be the travel range and skipping the lengthy recharging stops.
Besides a radiator and fuel tank, all the components of the Range Extender are mounted on a ready-to-install support frame. The vehicle they have been testing the Range Extender on is the Fiat 500E which has a range of 87 Miles (140 km) in its factory form. But with the KSPG Range Extender, the range can be extended by “several hundred kilometers” according to the company. I would love to see some third-party tests of this system to find out the exact details.
While we wait for battery technology to improve, this seems to be an ideal bridging technology which can help bring more acceptance of electric vehicles to a wider audience. KSPG Automotive needs to market this to the car manufacturers (which I’m sure they have) or they have to offer an easy-to-install kit as an after market modification for the limited number of electric vehicles on the market at the moment.
Visit KSPG Automotive for more information about the Range Extender as well as some of their other technologies