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Dear Telsa. Please design a range extender trailer and hitch for EVs

Dear Telsa. Please design a range extender trailer and hitch for EVs

The prime purpose being to shut up all the naysayers on range so that on the 4 times per year people need to make a long long trip, they can keep their EV batteries topped up with a towable trailer. Quite why they can’t pull in and take a bite to eat and supercharge after 200 miles / 3 hours of driving is beyond me.

Ideally the trailer should also be available as a rental item available from the nearest Tesla dealer or local equipment hire company of choice.

It would be even better if the generator could be used to provide silenced remote site power whilst on wilderness camping trips. And the trailer could also provide additional storage for bulky and / or dirty items like bikes, surfing or camping gear to keep the car interior clean.

If then becomes a real lifestyle accessory and makes a Tesla the only car you need. For commuting, long distance family holidays, trips to the home store for buying furniture and building materials, or to the recycling centre to drop of garden waste. Ok, it won't do off road, have a 2ft fording capability, or be able to tow 26ft sail boats, but still do for the other 99% of the world's drivers.

You could give the trailer a 8ft bed base with dually wheels and no one needs a big truck anymore. ;-) I’m joking here, but you get the idea. Instead of buying a vehicle for perceived occasional needs, you buy the traction vehicle as a model S/X/III and accessorize the load and distance capacity as and when required.

I know this doesn’t fit in with the ultimate goal of electric only power, but if it shuts up 90% of the people who on every EV forum thread that says “it can’t do my annual trip from X to Y which is > 250 miles” the world of internet forums would be a more peaceful place to be. It doesn’t matter if not every Tesla owner ever uses one, but if they are available for use, the battle of minds is won

Rocky_H | 17. Juli 2014

I don't think it would shut anyone up. You know why they complain about the charging time--it's inconvenient. See if this rant sounds familiar, as I put on a fake hater cap for a moment.

"What? I have to deal with all the hassle of a trailer just to drive a decent distance? I'd have to reserve a trailer in advance, hope they have one available, and then go pick it up, wasting my time, and then I'd have to drive around with a freaking trailer attached to the car? That makes it a pain in the ass to back your car up. And then when you get back from your trip, you have to waste more time again to go return it... And if your trip doesn't have a week's notice to schedule a reservation of the trailer, then what do you do? You're screwed."

Sorry, I don't mean the idea is that bad, but I have read from plenty of haters, and they can easily find at least as many problems with that as with using Superchargers.

frugaltesla | 17. Juli 2014

I completed a 3,925 mile solo trip across the USA in a 60kw Tesla Model S (WITHOUT a tech package for navigation). I only have a flip phone so I do not have "aps" either. The argument that long trips cannot be made in the Tesla is false. Details found at frugaltesla.com By the way, the trip cost less than $100. Happy Trails, Frugal Tesla

DTsea | 17. Juli 2014

Not going to happen.

draconious_z | 17. Juli 2014

Just what we need is a tesla verion of this Range Extender! LoL...

http://www.voitureelectrique.net/rinspeed-dockgo-la-voiture-electrique-a...

Dramsey | 17. Juli 2014

Towing a trailer containing a generator large enough to charge a Mod S in a meaningful amount of time would lead to widespread (and deserved!) mockery of the Mod S and EVs in general.

DTsea | 17. Juli 2014

Such a trailer would be universally seen as an admission of the impracticality of EVs in general even with large batteries.

Terrible, and VERY EXPENSIVE, idea.

Realo.de | 17. Juli 2014

The idea is just awful. A trailer is something associated with "camping", not with innovation.
Dramsey: I couldn't say it better: we should the mockery: "aha, here comes the camping car - a Tesla on a 400miles trip, haha :-)"

@Rocky_H: I couldn't say it better: you simply brought up all good arguments.

The idea of a range extender however is, in my opinion, useful: you can buy BMWi3 (my favorite example) in two versions: full electric (150km range) or with range-extender (gas): 300km range. So, when buying the car, you have to decide what type of driver you are. But when buying the hybrid, you always carry the range extender with you.
Despite all technical problems: I see a 25kWh "extender battery" as an interesting solution: Again, at buying time you have to decide when you want the "extension equipment" or not. When you drive just sub-urban, you only use the 60kWh battery. For "distance trips" (not 1000km) you plug-in the extender - of course in a "convenient" way

Realo.de | 17. Juli 2014

@simon_heath, Rocky_H

some facts:
there are 14.000 gas stations in Germany and an average fill time of 5-10min. It seems to be that there is enough "demand" for that number of stations, if people would widely except 30min, maybe the number would drop down to 5.000, but, for sure, if there would be a higher demand, the number could easily grow up to 30.000.

So, the market seems to be saturated/balanced.

We all post our individual opinions here, but we also talk to our colleagues and have an (individual) idea of the market. And, in fact, I'm not a "naysayer", but I try to bring up some concerns about EVs (in general)

Realo.de | 17. Juli 2014

@draconious_z

just to clarify: Rinspeed is a design/prototype company, not a car manufacturer. The have excellent ideas (no doubt about that), but they are not oriented towards "real market"

Realo.de | 17. Juli 2014

@draconious_z
hups, maybe I've seen your LoL to late, sorry! (however, Rinspeed really comes often up with funny and innovative ideas)

Grinnin'.VA | 17. Juli 2014

@simon_heath | JULY 17, 2014:

"... why they can’t pull in and take a bite to eat and supercharge after 200 miles / 3 hours of driving is beyond me."

It isn't a matter that folks can't take meal breaks every 3 hours. They can, but they prefer longer intervals between meals, particularly when they are on road trips. For many people, that preference is rather strong. So it's inconvenient as they see things. Consequently, a range limit (at 55 mph???) of 200 miles doesn't appeal to many people.

Ron :)

Realo.de | 17. Juli 2014

@Grinnin'

fully agree - and, again, it is not a real matter of discussion: if Tesla thinks it ok to exclude these customers, it's fine. The statement is just - it's too inconvenient for me to buy such a car and it's too inconvenient for most of the people I know…

pvandeloo.ipod | 17. Juli 2014

Hahaha ...that would really illustrate the impotency of todays battery technology and would be an enormous waste of precious resources. Better spend it on developing a superior and capable battery.

Iowa92x | 17. Juli 2014

Terrible idea.

Red Sage ca us | 17. Juli 2014

'Range Extender'... Shorthand for, "BEVs suck, are inconvenient, and can't do what you need them to in their own." Congratulations! You've just 'Killed the Electric Car'... Again.

This 'idea' is worse than a compromise. It is an outright surrender. You'll have to shop it around elsewhere. Maybe Detroit?

carlgo | 17. Juli 2014

Obviously this would be totally embarrassing and sink any hopes for an electric future.

But, you could fake it...use technology from those golf bag carriers that follow you around the course. The trailer would follow at a discreet distance so nobody would know it was part of a Tesla. Sort of like teenagers who don't want to walk with their parents, except in reverse.

When power gets low they will meet up in dark alleys or behind trees in a park to hook up, then continue their journey alone and apart. For awhile.

Anemometer | 18. Juli 2014

Maybe its because I hire trailers a lot for holidays and moving house I thought it was a good idea. I see lots of people doing the same during the summer. Even our annual boys trip to Le Mans we hire a box trailer to stick about 20 guys camping gear and a marquee in it. Obviously not behind a tesla though. I'm usually running support in a van + trailer down the motorway with all the petrol heads in the XKRs and R8 etc going the back roads.

I guess other people don't take as much stuff on long trips then? Even on the family camping trips I have to use a trailer now 3 has become 4. The spare seats used to take the boxes with cooking and food stuff. Already got a roof box so only 1 option. I could stay in hotels but where's the fun in that?

Do you guys in the US not use trailer a lot? Over here in Europe they are about as common as F250s are over there. Not loads, but several people in every street will have one at the back of the garage or in the back yard. I'm not saying it has to be too clever wither, just a Honda i20 on the front of a 6x4 bed would do me.

Maybe I'll just make my own then and hack the bios ;-) People wouldn't even know its a range extender. They'll just say oh - I didn't realise Telsa's could tow. Now I'm definitely getting one. ;-)

Anemometer | 18. Juli 2014

Just to add did anyone read past the title? I'm talking of a trailer that when you needed a trailer anyway - to carry extra stuff, it also becomes a range extender. Seems silly not too if you suddenly have the extra space to stick a genny. I'm not talking about a genny on wheels but a trailer with space for a genny.

Something like this:

http://www.isi-carriers.com/customers/gl/trailer--bike-carrier.html

Like I said, I'm not suggesting all Telsa owners would want to use one, especially if they are fat ass lazy and never like to use a bike or are too stupid to put up a tent. But for people who like wilderness trips and want to take a lot of stuff a long way.

Niche, but easy enough to develop?

Red Sage ca us | 18. Juli 2014

It's only been suggested a few hundred, thousand, million, billion times... Still not a good idea.

L8MDL | 18. Juli 2014

Why not just buy an extra battery and design a trailer with proper electrical contacts. There's an 85 battery for sale on the Tesla motors site. I think he wants 29K.

holidayday | 18. Juli 2014

NO
"and that's all I have to say about that"

vgarbutt | 18. Juli 2014

A Frunk mounted loaner aluminum air battery can give maybe 500 miles range. That would help no? Rent the range extender and drop off when the trip is done. Let the rental agency replace the aluminum plates. I wonder how much range a frunk mounted AL battery could deliver?

DTsea | 18. Juli 2014

Remember.... There is no such animal as a real aluminum air battery. Just a lab stuff and press releases. Plus there is no connection for it in the car.

Brian H | 19. Juli 2014

The i3 range extender is the insertion of a small putt-putt in an inadequate short-distance EV to give emergency range. Even BMW does not promote it as a daily resource.

Take it to the bank: Tesla will NEVER produce or enable range extenders, whether they burn gas or aluminum. Its solution (most cost effective and versatile option) is more and more battery charge capacity and speed - which fortunately go together.

Bubba2000 | 19. Juli 2014

There are several options to extend the rsnge of Model S:
1. The battery pack could be fully populated from the 7,000 cells for 85 KWhr to 8,000 cells. It will affect the dynamics and the suspension will have to be adapted. Add another 15 KWhr?
2. The battery pack could be extended to take some space of the frunk, especially in the recss. Add another 25 KWhr?

Total of 125 KWhr may extend EPA range to close 400 miles. Probaly cost extra $10,000-15,000 incremental? Any buyers? I suspect there is top 20% that is not going to blink and pay up. Look at the number of P85 and P85+, all loaded up being sold!

Not sure Elon is motivated to go for the very hi end market, especially with SC deployment taking off.

Red Sage ca us | 19. Juli 2014

By the time anyone owns an 8-year-old Tesla Model S it will be possible to swap out its battery pack for something with a much higher capacity.

Ocean Railroader | 20. Juli 2014

I think the idea of a trailer for a battery pack died when Tesla announced a 400 mile battery pack upgrade for the existing Tesla Roadster. In that it could be possible to do this for many other EV's too vs adding a trailer.

Tiebreaker | 21. Juli 2014

Ain't no gonna happen...

Anemometer | 21. Juli 2014

Still don't think anyone gets it.

Options and accessories catalogue :-
Wheels: fancy alloys, eco alloys
Body kits: rear wings, wide body kit, front spliters etc (joking)
Lifestyle: rear facing child seats, tow bars, roof racks, dog guards, camping trailer (with optional silent portable plug in generator). Don't call it a range extender if it upsets you!

If Tesla don't someone will. Maybe me ROFL (in money). Bwa hah ha ha.

Am I just not posh enough to get it? That people with Telsas don't go camping? I'd beg to differ considering the typical car I see on campsites towing a caravan is a 335d or an A6 Quattro. Or a VW T5 California / camper conversion. All of which ain't cheap. Jag XF 3.0D V6 won tow car of the year last year! That's not a typical camping car either.

Rocky_H | 21. Juli 2014

" I'm not talking about a genny on wheels but a trailer with space for a genny."

Guess what? You can do this whenever you want, and you don't have to wait for Tesla's permission. There is a type of small hitch that is approved for the Model S to tow small trailers. I would bet that no one would stop you from including a generator as one of the items that you load onto that trailer.

As to the U.S. market, this is a moot point because large trucks are so prevalent here. If anyone is going to tow anything, they will be taking their truck, so the Tesla will be staying at home in the garage anyway.

grega | 21. Juli 2014

I originally totally agreed with you simon.

The problem is that EVs are perceived as less capable than ICEVs. People have standard expectations of cars, and if an EV can't do what an ICEV does people see it and it's bad for EV acceptance. The opposite isn't true - where an ICEV can't do what an EV does, people don't yet see that.

Or in other words:

An EV owner might see a trailer with a generator or battery and think " brilliant, I could get that if I needed it, it's a great way of extending my range".

A non EV owner might see a trailer with generator or battery and think "oh my god, these EVs really can't travel like a real car can they, I'm glad I have a real car".

The perception is important at this stage.

Anemometer | 22. Juli 2014

" I'm not talking about a genny on wheels but a trailer with space for a genny."

Guess what? You can do this whenever you want, and you don't have to wait for Tesla's permission. There is a type of small hitch that is approved for the Model S to tow small trailers. I would bet that no one would stop you from including a generator as one of the items that you load onto that trailer.

As to the U.S. market, this is a moot point because large trucks are so prevalent here. If anyone is going to tow anything, they will be taking their truck, so the Tesla will be staying at home in the garage anyway.

Ah found it the Eco Hitch - perfect especially as the main reason I have a hitch fitted on all my cars is for a bike rack that keeps the bikes away from the paint work and still lets me to get under car park barriers.

Judging by the negative comments on here though - if I ever add a genny as a "parked up range extender", I better make sure it looks nothing like a generator. What about a washing machine or A/C unit? As pointed out in the last thread.... something that makes people go I didn't realise a Tesla could tow.

I think having a mobile unit which charges on the go would be a bit much as the mo. Honda i20 it is then. Will take about a week to charge the Tesla ready for a trip home, LOL. Much better to pick a campsite with electric hookup.