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Please tell me if this idea is stupid

Please tell me if this idea is stupid

As someone who is in the automotive industry and has a good understanding of how charging systems on combustion engines work, why can the tesla not have its own internal charging system. It says on the site that for every hour the car charges, it can drive 62 miles, so I'm proposing that the car be designed with an alternator type charging system and TWO batteries each capable of going say 75 miles on a full charge. While the car is on the road it only needs to use one battery for the first 75 miles, and when that first battery depletes, the car can automatically switch the the second battery while the alternator starts charging the first. The car could then run endlessly with no need to stop and plug in... Unless I'm a moron who has no clue as to how the batteries and charging system in these cars work. Please tell me why this doesnt work.

Brian H | 12 May 2013

More perpetual motion. The energy to the charging battery comes from the powering battery, minus losses and energy used for motion. It is a very inefficient way to use 150 miles worth of energy.

kueves87 | 13 May 2013

But a standard alternator is belt driven, and only makes power when a belt is turning its pulley. It doest draw power from the battery to give it back to the battery, it creates power by being driven by a belt, nothing else. Therefore if Tesla could create a gear driven alternator, any time the car is in motion the alternator could create power and charge any battery, thats why the battery in your car doesnt die from your house to the store.

Timo | 13 May 2013

There is a system in Tesla car that does just that, it is called regenerative braking. Guess why that is called braking.

Vawlkus | 13 May 2013

There is no alternator in an electric car, nor is there any belt driven system in an electric car. The drive motor only acts as a motor when under power, when not powered by the battery, the motor becomes a generator that recaptures SOME kinetic energy from the turning wheels until the car comes to a complete stop. When the car is stopped, the motor is a large paperweight that neither generates nor consumes any power.

An alternator works in an ICE car because the engine is ALWAYS running, thus it is able to generate power for its electronics instead of drawing that power from its 12 volt battery.

J.T. | 13 May 2013

I am by no means any kind of expert on electricity transmission, but it occurs to me that if a belt was attached to the axle and then attached to an alternator to create electricity and send it to charge a battery the power needed to overcome the resistance of the alternator would negate the benefit of charging another battery.

Tiebreaker | 13 May 2013

I think you can fly, or at least levitate, if you pull up really hard on your shoelaces.

kueves87 | 13 May 2013

Right so what I'm proposing is instead of an alternator that's belt driven, make one that is designed like a distributor, with a small gear drive at the end of an output shaft and insert the shaft into the the drivetrain system which runs using a series of gears. The small gear on the output shaft of the alternator would need very little power to turn, and could easily generate the charging power of a 110 outlet.

Brian H | 13 May 2013

If it takes very little power to turn, it generates even less. There are no free Watts.

kueves87 | 13 May 2013

No. Alternators need very little energy to turn yet can yield 110 volts at any rpm. Therefor tesla could create an alternator that runs in conjunction with the transmission so that at freeway speeds it can produce plenty if current to charge one of the two batteries. I could make a small electric motor run almost forever by running a car battery to it and have it turn the alternator. The Battery would constantly be getting power from the alternator and therefore continually power the motor. If the Prius can use the motor braking system to generate power why can tesla not create a self contained charging system? I guess my main question is why does it need to be plugged in if an alternator can charge give it the same amount of charging power. Any electrical engineers here please help me understand this.

kueves87 | 13 May 2013

No. Alternators need very little energy to turn yet can yield 110 volts at any rpm. Therefor tesla could create an alternator that runs in conjunction with the transmission so that at freeway speeds it can produce plenty if current to charge one of the two batteries. I could make a small electric motor run almost forever by running a car battery to it and have it turn the alternator. The Battery would constantly be getting power from the alternator and therefore continually power the motor. If the Prius can use the motor braking system to generate power why can tesla not create a self contained charging system? I guess my main question is why does it need to be plugged in if an alternator can give it the same amount of charging power. Any electrical engineers here please help me understand this.

PBEndo | 13 May 2013

If I had a nickel.....

holidayday | 13 May 2013

Kueves87: "Prius can use the motor braking system to generate power "

I think the part you are not understanding is this. The braking system generates power until the car stops. Then it doesn't generate power anymore.

Or maybe you do not understand this "why does it need to be plugged in if an alternator can give it the same amount of charging power."
Because the power is being used to move the car. if you use the power to run to an alternator, it is not being used to move the car. You cannot use the energy twice. You can only use it to move the car, or run the alternator.

You cannot use energy twice.
You cannot use energy twice.

kueves87 | 13 May 2013

@holiday. But an alternator does not need power from the battery to charge the battery. If the cars motor uses the battery to run, the battery is draining whenever the car is moving. If you can run an alternator using a gear drive from the drivetrain, you're not using energy from the battery to run the alternator itself you're using the gear drive from drivetrain. The drivetrain spins the alternator which then creates the charging power. How is that using energy twice. The drivetrain is already in motion, all it would do is add another small gear in the mix to run the alternator. If you take an alternator and set it on a bench and spin it by hand it creates power. It needs absolutely no other power source to create power.

kueves87 | 13 May 2013

Ok thanks

james babb | 13 May 2013

You asked for it: "This is a stupid idea".

kueves87 | 13 May 2013

Lol thanks ill give up now

Brian H | 13 May 2013

james;
took the words out of my fingers.

pbendo;
"... for every time someone suggested motion was free ..."

Timo | 13 May 2013

@kueves87, you need to read my response. Ask yourself: why is regenerative braking called braking?

You get your answer right there.

JaneW | 13 May 2013

"using a gear drive from the drivetrain, you're not using energy from the battery to run the alternator itself you're using the gear drive from drivetrain"

What is driving the drive train? The electric motor is driving the drive train,using power from the batteries to do so. Therefore, the power has already been used. You cannot use it again to drive the alternator without robbing power from the drive train that is moving the car.

Did you think the drivetrain magically moves itself?

olanmills | 13 May 2013

@kueves87
I'm sorry, but your idea is stupid.

olanmills | 13 May 2013

"please help me understand this"

You idea is basically suggesting that you should use one battery to charge another. That doesn't make any sense when you want to use both batteries in the same application.

The alternator in a car is being powered by the engine. The engine is being powered by gasoline. Powering the alternator uses up gasoline.

It just so happens, that the way internal combustion engines work is that we leave them running even when they are not in use (like when you're stopped at a red light, or coasting). In this case, true, we put some of that energy to use by turning the alternator to charge the battery and power electronics. It's only "free" in the sense that a lot of the output of the internal combustion engine goes to waste during those times, and so using some of the otherwise wasted energy is "free". However, when you're actually using the engine, like when you're driving on the freeway, for sure, powering the alternator is using up some of your gas. However, the car and all of its functions can't work without the alternator.

nwdiver93 | 13 May 2013

Is... Is this a joke? please tell me this is a joke...

Brian H | 13 May 2013

nw;
periodically, one of these free riders shows up. Search the forum for "perpetual" and you'll see.

Mark22 | 14 May 2013

Here is another way to think of it.
Using a belt or gear, either one takes energy to make it move. This will result in slowing the car, which will require energy from the batteries to speed up again.
There are energy losses at every step (gear turning, charging a battery, etc). So the energy gained is less than the increased energy required.

The 110 volt charging would give you a range increase of about 3 miles per hour of charging. Due to the increased energy required by the car, you would loose 4 miles per hour (for example).

What you are suggesting is a more complicated method of what the regenerative braking already does.
The reason they use regenerative braking is it is only used when you want to slow down. The energy when you brake is normally wasted as heat and friction. Regenerative braking allows the car to recapture some of that energy.

Hope that helps.

Vawlkus | 14 May 2013

Here's an experiment for people to try if they think this would work.
Find a valley. Start at the top of the valley on one side. Run down into the valley, and up the other side. When you get to the top of the other side of the valley, ask yourself if you feel tired. If this idea was valid, you wouldn't feel tired since you gained energy running down the one side of the valley, which you then expended going up the other side.

cloroxbb | 16 May 2013

"please tell me if idea stupid"

Your idea isn't stupid, just missing laws of physics. Its just not possible to generate more power than you consume to generate.

TFMethane | 17 May 2013

My cousin is a lawyer and seriously argues that you should be able to power an electric car by mounting a windmill on top of the car... Which is basically the same argument this guy is making. ot everyone got a proper science education, and many people don't understand intuitively the law of conservation of energy. They see all these modern technological advancements, and just assume we can extrapolate the trendline indefinitely. These are the same people who run for congress and don't understand that unlimited growth is unsustainable...any attempts to contradict them with science faces skepticism and mistrust. They don't know what they don't know, which makes them feel smart. And they use them smarts to run this here great (greatest, I mean) country.

nwdiver93 | 17 May 2013

@TFMethane

It's actually not the same thing...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7PNSyAfCjk

Same way a sailboat can sail into the wind.

kueves87s idea still violates the laws of thermodynamics.

Brian H | 17 May 2013

Usable wind must be externally caused, not the result of the car's self-generated motion.

To quote Heinlein: TANSTAAFL

Timo | 17 May 2013

If you want to car to have as long range as possible you should concentrate on reducing losses. Without losses car has infinite range. Think satellites on orbit.

There just are two main sources of losses that are pretty much impossible to reduce much: air friction and rolling resistance. First one comes from the fact that you need to actually carry stuff in the car, second can't be removed without making car impossible to control (and the fact that you need to carry stuff).

Rest can be reduced by improving techs, but in case of BEV efficiencies are already really high, so you wont get much improvement there. In case of ICE there is huge margin for improvement: gas is excellent energy source, way better than best batteries, one gallon of gas contains approx 38kWh of energy. If your Audi S7 could use that as well as Model S does you would get nearly 120mpg instead of 20mpg.

Mass and size are enemies of long range. Considering how large and how heavy Model S is it is doing pretty darned good job in that. GenIII car should be able to get quite a bit longer range without using as much batteries just because it is smaller car.

Superliner | 19 May 2013

Oh Brother !!

Alex K | 19 May 2013

@kueves87 | MAY 12, 201: Unless I'm a moron who has no clue as to how the batteries and charging system in these cars work. Please tell me why this doesnt work.

Please see How come electric cars don't have alternators that just recharge the battery while you drive?

tonycompu | 14 June 2013

Well I think that this is NOT a stupid idea and it can work in a near future. All arguments given here don't make sense.

This should work like the dynamos in the bicycles

tonycompu | 14 June 2013
tonycompu | 14 June 2013

the car can automatically switch to the second battery while the alternator/dynamo powered by the wheels in motion, starts charging the first.

this is a good idea.

PorfirioR | 14 June 2013

Would someone please start an aftermarket store that sells solar panels, alternators, windmills, unobtainium reactors, cosmic ray collectors, and magic beans to make your Tesla Model S drive forever? Then let people put money down for the option of their choice, which will be "available soon".

Judging by this thread, there is some money to be made there.

Brian H | 14 June 2013

tonycompu;
You seem to fail to realize that the source of energy for #2 is #1. Losses are inevitable with each transfer, so you never get back as much as you put in. So you rapidly end up with nothing.

David70 | 14 June 2013

It's not a stupid idea, it's just an idea that is completely ignorant of physics and thermodynamics.

Timo | 14 June 2013

I think the mistake here is that these people don't realize that alternator-generated electricity is not free, that it does slow down the axle it is attached to a bit more than it generates electricity.

Timo | 14 June 2013

@PorfirioR, I think someone already tries that:

http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/board-onthe-fly-charging

It can't be coincidence that that comes right after discussion here in this thread.

PorfirioR | 15 June 2013

@Timo
Thanks. I posted a response on that thread. Perhaps there should be a boilerplate response for all these ideas.

Sometimes I feel bad throwing cold water on these ideas because I believe that there is value in discussing even those ideas that "would never work". I am sure that there was such a discussion when the founders of Tesla were starting an electric car company.

However, I also feel that there is a point when the discussion should end after an idea has been exhausted, like it is the case here.

TeslaCrush | 16 June 2013

I know this thread is winding down. But if it helps at all, the Mazda Skyactive program determined that the alternator consumed 10 hp and though it is not a hybrid, it does power the alternator when slowing similar to regen braking and that power is stored in capacitors. One HP = 746 watts/sec. performing the calculations, you can determine how much electricity would actually be wasted by adding that extra load to the motor's output.

olanmills | 17 June 2013

"This should work like the dynamos in the bicycles"

Haha, these threads always go on too long.

Riding a bicycle with a dynamo attached to power a light requires more effort from the rider than if the dynamo was not installed. With modern LED lights, the extra effort required isn't that much, so maybe it's not as noticable, but it's certainly not free.

Vawlkus | 17 June 2013

Here's another experiment for those who think this should to try. Get a pair of moon shoes. Start walking in them. Since the springs are giving you energy back every step you take, you should be able to walk from coast to coast and never get tired, according to this idea. Go ahead and get started, I'm sure it'll catch on once you show us all it can be done.

lph | 17 June 2013

Put a 250 watt generator on your bicycle to run a 250 watt heat lamp bulb. Then try it without the bulb. Unless you are Lance Armstrong, you will be pooped trying to keep the light bulb burning brightly for 10 minutes, but you can cycle all day, or at least till your butt gets sore if there is no bulb. I know this is true because I have tried it.
Now ask yourself where did that energy come from?

Brian H | 18 June 2013

Steroids.

lph | 18 June 2013

Good one Brian..

RanjitC | 18 June 2013

This is the Fifth thread. Why don't these guys talk to someone who understands physics before they start a thread.

Timo | 18 June 2013

Fifth? Can't be that low. Feels more like hundredth.

Vawlkus | 19 June 2013

264th and counting.

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