Concept Range Extender Trailer for Tesla Cars

Concept Range Extender Trailer for Tesla Cars

I drew up this crude concept drawing showing a tow behind generator that can be rented for long distance trips. The idea is that the trailer has a high efficiency gas or diesel engine with a generator that is used to sustain highway speeds for long distance trips. Even a 20 or 30kW generator would be enough to maintain highway speeds considering the giant battery built in to the car.

I think that this would be a rental item so that owners don't have to pay for a generator that may only be used a few times per year. To me, this seems like the perfect solution to range anxiety until batteries increase in capacity.

Any comments on this?

oisiaa | October 25, 2012

The inline image didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, here is a direct link to the image:

Brian H | October 25, 2012

Some S owner is missing the nose and front wheels of his car!

Teslation | October 26, 2012

Is that an electrical storage or a gas generator your thinking of towing ?

oisiaa | October 26, 2012

A gasoline or diesel generator. It will allow unlimited range. I personally think that this would be the perfect solution for cross country driving with an EV.

Teslation | October 27, 2012

I believe it has possibilities. Let's do a little CR Brainstorming here:

1) Can you make that generator compressed natural gas ? It's 25% cleaner. CR: incremental continuous
quality green improvement.

2) Let's create some other uses for the "Tow Behind Generator, e.g. where do carowners go and what do they
do on long trips- beach, hiking/camping, tailgate cooking at NASCAR/football, kayaking.--Always good to
have extra plugs, hookups for stoves for camping etc. CR: break stovepipe thinking / anticipate random
opportunities for enjoyment.

3). Big storm coming up, be good to have a backup generator for the house, bet they sell out generators in the
northeast.CR: unintended benefits.

4). How about solving some other problems with the glass top Model S & Falcon Wing Model X, with the "Tow
Behind Generator" e.g. I read comments there's no ability to put kayaks, ski's, bikes, or luggage racks on
the roof.

So let's design some extra space for all the stuff in the "Tow Behind Generator", something like a smallish

Compressed natural gas or propane tanks in the roof. That will make roof round and the interior floor
nice and flat. Now make the tow box big enough to carry some of that stuff & a cng compressor inside., but
not too big to keep the weight down.
CR: maximize desirability by fullfilling a customer need.

5). Now we can expand the the market by a factor of at least 100 or more,have great advertising by putting the
tesla name etc on the outside, and sell to BOTH gas car owners as well as EV's. Sell on website, Amazon,
EBay etc.--Now that's the cheap version, say keep it to $5,000 plus tax. CR: maximize the market &
possible profitability/margin.

Now for the expensive version of the TBG...why not make a hybrid TBG version, a Tow Behind Generator that has both a CNG compressor & electric battery storage? CR: reinvent the product/converge two products.

1). Make the system even cleaner by adding lithium storage batteries to serve also as the floor, have various
capacity sizes, the biggest size able to haul a motorcycle or ATV and handle a supercharcher or charge
both the car & charger at home or on the road with regular EV plugs on the road. Save the CNG generator
for when the TBG charge is low. CR: creatively merging two previously unrelated items.

2). Add Solar City designed solar panels on the roof. Great advertising for Elon's solar company. Plus it adds
electric charge while driving. CR: create synergy with partner company.

3). Add electricity producing regenerative braking to the wheels. CR design efficiency.

4). Here's a farout idea, ever see an electric hand operated forklift or pallet jack ? Don't just have regen wheels,
but wheels that turn backwards with control buttons on the front of the hitch connection, designed to act like
an electric hand pallet jack after it is disconnected from the car. Now you can move your cargo around,
have a stove, cords, stuff where you need it powered by the wheels. CR: add surprise/cool value.

Have the roof removable and now you essentially have a pallet jack for moving bulky stuff around, great for
around the house. CR: add surprise/cool value.

5) Have several small parts of the battery detachable and easy to carry for places like the beach when you
want just a relatively small amount of power for a small TV or keep gadgets charged. CR: unintended uses.

6). Hire Industrial ecologist to write articles & a peer reviewed paper to make sure the whole manufacturing
process is clean, green & not mean to the environment, include in manufactures of all the different
components. CR: anticipate problems...

7). Design whole system for fast manufacturing. CR: design out problems through continuous manufacturing
efficiency improvement.

8) Finally make as many items optional as possible, mix and match, even have electric only, if that's what you
want, sell to the masses, get free advertising, list everywhere, plus jazz up the company website store.
CR: Total Quality Experience.

The more expensive version, about $ 15,000. more or less depending on which options you choose.

oisiaa | October 27, 2012

Just some comments:

Natural gas is much harder to come by than gasoline or Diesel. The purpose of this is to make traveling cross country no harder than in a normal car.

I like the idea of it serving as a backup electricity generator in case of a power outage or as a camping generator. That would help Tesla sell it as an addon since it has extra uses.

DHrivnak | October 27, 2012

I for one would love the idea BUT we have to get past the firmware that will not allow you to even start the car if charging. If someone can work out that detail I can complete the rest of the trailer.

Brian H | October 27, 2012

Charging while driving is not distinguishable from the charger carrying part or all of the load. This in effect means driving from the charger using the battery as backup. If the charger is fossil fuel powered this is no different from having a 2-part hybrid.

If you secretly want to transform TM's BEV into a hybrid, this is one way to do it.

Teslation | October 28, 2012

"The purpose of this is to make traveling cross country no harder than in a normal car."

Not sure how clean propane is, but how about Blue Rhino propane as an option ? They already have a tank exchange program, even available at Walmart. See the Blue Rhino phone app here:

In addition , there are tri-fuel generators, that way the consumer can choose their fuel based on how green their desire is. See generators here & options for tri-fuel generators.

Now with a little planning, you can be greener. Or not be and pull into any gas station.

I think it's important to keep the car as green as possible because of anti-green critics and politics.

darkhorse0102 | December 17, 2018

I had this idea couple year back, I call it Etrailer.
Are you pursuing this now, 2018?

blue adept | December 17, 2018

What the literal fuck!

No one wants to be towing some CO2 spewing 'trailer' behind their cars, long distance trips or not!

That would totally undermine the whole mission of Tesla Motors to transition the world AWAY from ICE motors (in all forms) and is what the SC network is for (for those 'long distance' trips the TS and others mentioned), or have you forgotten about that?

Sheesh people! You need to realize that you've been so brainwashed by the petroleum industry that you can't even see BEYOND it.

billtphotoman | December 17, 2018

I could see this making a lot of sense for a tow behind camper with the camper itself containing the range extender at least until batteries get _really_ cheap and energy dense at which time the camper could just contain lots of batteries.
It doesn't make sense to me to put a couple of extra hundred kWh worth of batteries in a model X or Y just so that it can occasionally pull a high drag trailer 200 miles of distance. Better to have the camper itself contain the range extender (today) and batteries (some day).

blue adept | December 17, 2018

Progress isn't made by taking one step forward and two backwards...

Come on people.

reed_lewis | December 18, 2018

With all the Super Chargers out there, this trailer is useless.

Plus in the picture at the top of this post, it looks like there are no connections between the car and the trailer. How does that work?

And I do not want a noisy trailer behind my sleek Tesla.

mcflyInAustin | December 18, 2018

To the ones freaking out over this thread, do you realize it is over 6 years old? I'm guessing back then it was very difficult to impossible to do a cross-country trip. Cut the 2012 people some slack.

DTsea | December 18, 2018


zombie thread. shoot it in the head.

DTsea | December 18, 2018

darkhorse resurrected it. thats who is not being given slack. | December 18, 2018

darkhorse0102 is very likely a bot that randomly tosses a new post into a thread and has no concept of obsolete posts. Poor English is just one clue, and a username with random digits is the other.

lilbean | December 19, 2018

Why not just stick your head out the window instead of using a hair dryer? | December 20, 2018

@blue - Dead link above.

blue adept | January 3, 2019

Anyway, I just wanted to apologize if my language offended anyone, it's just that the ludicrous absurdity of dragging a gas-powered generator behind a Tesla for use as a 'range extender' was mind-numbingly idiotic.

Mikerauth1 | December 6, 2019

@blue adept there are many reasons why an internal combustion range extender would be valuable. Of course, it is unnecessary for most trips. But if you either want to travel where a supercharger network has not been built there is no other option. Or, if as was the case recently in CA, demand has overwhelmed supply of available chargers, the range extender is the solution. (Long waits for chargers)

I think that this French company has created an excellent concept that is now in pilot testing. I would love to see a Tesla version of this. Have a look. Demonstration video:
Company site

blue adept | December 6, 2019
blue adept | December 6, 2019


Ideally, people are meant to install an at-home charger:

And make use of it for their charging needs instead of piling up at whatever local Superchargers that might be available. Afterall you are aware, are you not, that all Tesla's come equipped with a "Mobile Connector" charging cable that allows charging via many electrical outlets and it even comes with some plug adapters that enable charging at non-Tesla charging centers...?

Anyway, the point is to move off of and away from all forms of fossil fuel-based energy production, not create an allowance or exception to the rule out of some ill-contrived, manufactured need.

Again, progress is NOT made by taking one step forward and two back.