EV With Range Extender: Does it really increase EV range?

EV with range extender

EV Range Extender

While electric vehicles excel in short distances and local activities, longer distances can raise concerns about running out of power. EV with range extenders, also known as Auxiliary Power Units (APU), was developed by manufacturers to alleviate customer concerns and improve the usability and fuel efficiency of electric vehicles. 

These portable power units can replenish the car’s batteries while it is still moving, thus reducing the need to refuel. Heavy commercial and industrial vehicles with EV range extenders can perform better and more efficiently.

To solve the range problem for electric vehicles, range extenders are used, which provide extra energy for driving and other uses inside the EV. EV range extenders can run on single-phase or three-phase power systems and may include a generator, battery packs, converters, and electric motors, among other components.

white EV with range extender

What is an EV With Range Extender?

The APU’s single function is recharging the EV’s primary batteries, making it a tiny internal combustion engine. Power is supplied by a 5-10 liter gasoline tank housed separately from the small motor. APU (auxiliary power unit) total power will be equal to or greater than battery capacity.

A discharged battery will persist if the APU’s power output is lower than or equivalent to the battery’s power. A tiny gas engine is a typical APU. Although it only generates a small amount of power, it’s sufficient to replenish the battery of an EV.

Buying a plug-in electric vehicle equipped with an extra range extender is one solution for the range concern of EV owners worldwide. An electric vehicle’s range can be increased with the help of a range extender, a supplementary power source with typically a tiny fuel motor that refills the vehicle’s battery. At the same time, the EV is still in motion.

A person standing by a range extender

A frequent concern among those driving electric vehicles is that they will run out of juice on the road and must return to a charging station before reaching their destination.

A range-extended electric vehicle solves the problem of driving too far on a single charge. An electric vehicle’s range can be increased considerably by using a range extender, an additional onboard power source that recharges the vehicle’s battery. The range extenders are not designed for constant use and should only be activated when the charge life of your EV battery is critically low.

Vehicle range extenders rarely provide direct propulsion. Instead, it charges the car’s battery, which in turn powers the electric engines that, in turn, propel the vehicle. Many EV users experience range anxiety, but this can be mitigated with a range-extended electric car.

Increased sales of electric cars (EVs) in developing countries due to pollution worries are projected to promote substantial growth in the EV range extenders market.

How Does a Range Extender Work?

Hydrogen electric car range extender

To increase the range of a battery electric car, a fuel-powered auxiliary power unit (APU) is used to power an electric engine that recharges the vehicle’s battery and is termed a series hybrid powertrain.

The fuel range extender will activate once the car’s power supply is nearly exhausted to conserve the EV’s battery life. It functions as a generator, sending power to the vehicle’s battery to keep it charged. Range extenders are typically small fuel engines that add enough force to the car to keep it moving forward. In most cases, they don’t provide adequate electricity for a vehicle’s full potential.

Many range-extended electric cars have small gas containers that only allow a short additional driving range. However, they can extend their range by stopping at any petrol station and refueling.

What are Extended-Range Vehicles? 

Range extended electric car

Modern electric vehicle models incorporate modifications that increase their range significantly. The company is implementing several strategies to extend electric vehicles’ range. Auxiliary power units (APUs) are commonly used to recharge the battery cell of an extended-range electric car (E-REV). Plug-in hybrids are another name for these E-REVs.

When the EV battery gets a predetermined low level of about 5 or 10 percent, the APU begins charging the batteries in EVs while the car remains in motion. The refilling process of the EV battery through the range extender is hands-free and occurs instantly.

Due to the supplemental APU charging, there is no longer any pressing need to locate a charging port or wait for extended periods to charge at some EV public charging stations. It essentially increases the EV’s range, allowing for greater travel distances.

Benefits of Range Extenders

Many electric car owners worry about being stranded when their batteries die. The benefits range-extended electric cars offer to include reduced stress over driving distance, cheaper gas, and more efficient use of the vehicle’s potential.

Provided adequate range, a fleet of EVs can be more cost-effective to operate than a similar number of Conventional cars. All electric vehicles‘ range can be increased, allowing their owners to take more journeys throughout the day without worrying about finding an outlet for their charging device in the middle of the day.

There are many advantages of using an APU. We expect to see an increase in long-range electric cars shortly. The range per battery of a vehicle will also increase. Here are some of the most significant gains that have been realized through the use of range extension technology in electric cars:

  • It alleviates concerns about running out of electric power while driving. Eventually, EVs with range extenders can match or even surpass the mileage of gas-only vehicles.
  • Freedom of task is made possible by an increased car range. A driver is not limited in how far he can go.
  • Improved productivity due to more flexible job options made possible by an EV with a range extender. The efficiency gains that can be achieved also rely on the drivers. 
  •  The cost to refill an APU tank is significantly less than that of a standard ICE car due to the improved range and economy it provides. Given that energy is the primary source for filling the battery of an EV, the regularity with which the vehicle must be refueled will also be reduced.

What Electric Vehicles have Range Extenders?

Karma GS-6 is the only range-extended car in America, from a BMW turbocharged 3-cylinder engine and an electric generator.

Several companies have previously provided EVs with range extenders, including the BMW i3, BMW i8, Polestar 1, Chevrolet Volt, and Cadillac ELR.

Only early electric cars used range extenders virtually due to their limited driving range, lack of widespread public charging infrastructure, and the elevated risk of range anxiety. Given the improved charging facilities and longer-range EVs available today, their intricacy and cost outweigh the benefits of extended-range electric vehicles.

Can the EV Range be Extended?

The single charge range of an EV can be considerably increased by using a range extender to recharge the battery. Modern EV models incorporate upgrades that increase range significantly. The company is implementing several strategies to expand its EVs range. Auxiliary power units (APUs) are commonly used to recharge the battery cell of an extended-range electric car.

Tesla Solar Range Extender

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Tesla has constructed the easiest, most straightforward, and least complex portable EV with a range extender van. It is topped with nine 300W solar cells, and when fully extended, the top roof panels produce 2.7kW of electricity, which is enough to add about 80km per day to the range of an electric vehicle.

How to Extend the Range of Tesla?

  • Make sure you don’t make any quick starts or stops.
  • Increase the use of regenerative braking.
  • Stick to the specified speed restriction.
  • If you need a reliable power reserve, your Tesla is not the one
  • As a rule of thumb, avoid using rapid charges.
  • Battery life can be preserved by turning off the air conditioner.
  • Make use of the automatic controls.

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