Range extender for Tesla S

Range extender for Tesla S

Range extender for Tesla

I know Tesla will never have a range extender in their cars.
Till now, the best range externder was announced for Audi A1 E-Tron. Small Wankel engine below the back seats as secondary engine.
Or this one from 1979 :
Even better solution would be super powerful RSE Rotary Stirling Engine, which would work on any kind of fuels, solar heat, or both at the same time. Of course it would work in silence at high RPM, only to recharge the batteries. Range of these cars would be 2000 miles.

cloroxbb | 28. juli 2013


JaneW | 29. juli 2013

I don't think so, if you care about distance driving.
A small engine used as a generator is a much better solution than charging stations of any kind.
Do it right and you can drive almost forever. When Tesla decides to build a truly mass market car (way in the future) I'll bet they'll go this way unless they have a 2000 mile battery.

negarholger | 29. juli 2013

A 100 gallon fuel tank in a 25 mpg ICE would give be equivalent to a 2000 miles battery. Technically it is no problem to put a 100 gallon tank in an ICE - but nobody offers that solution because nobody needs it.
The equivalent to all of todays ICEs would be a 120 - 160 kWh battery (~500 miles) - that is the sweet spot for personal transportation ( after 100 years development the ICE industry came to that conclusion). The beauty is we are only one or two steps away from that perfect battery.

ian | 29. juli 2013

@JaneW - What's the point of having that kind of range when you have to stop for a pee and a snack every few hours anywa? Or are you one of those travelers that keeps 2 bottles on hand, one to drink from and one to pee in?

ian | 29. juli 2013


Brian H | 30. juli 2013

Do you really want a motorcycle engine with 9 liters of gas 'helping you charge almost indefinitely'? That's how the i3 turns 90 into 180. TBNT.

As for the Stirling using solar, you need God to hover a magnifying glass over you while you drive. Total solar energy falling on a car is enough to keep a cart with 4 bicycle wheels in motion. In the Australian desert, at noon.

ttoomm1 | 30. juli 2013

Never say never ... i3 has range extending engine, here is how I see range extending rotary Stirling engine RSE : on the car roof is solar collector, which brings hot liquid to RSE, which can also works on any kind of fuel at the same time. Benefits of this small engine which works only on high RPM are : uses also solar power, any kind of fuels and it works quietly.

Timo | 30. juli 2013

Heh, and a ton of insulation so that solar actually manages to heat something with all the air going past it and quite bad aerodynamics with the collector I'm pretty sure you end up losing power with that. A lot of power.

You also need collector size of Hindenburg to collect enough solar radiation for it to be any use for a car. Or God to hover a magnifying glass over you while you drive.

Navi | 30. juli 2013

Don't need it, in a couple of years we will be having 120kWh batteries, and then 150kWh, which will be plenty for any car, so prices will start dropping as production rises.

tes-s | 31. juli 2013

The Model S has a range extender option. You can get the 85kwh battery instead of the 60.

ttoomm1 | 01. august 2013

Yes I know this, but average driver goes to a long trip longer than 1000 miles at least once a year, in this case range extender could looks like this :

I know it is funny to have electric generator in a trailer behind the car, maybe there is also a better solution, but we do not know for it right now ... aha, maybe you could rent a trailer once a year ?

Timo | 01. august 2013

I think you are missing one "if" in there. Average driver definitely doesn't do over 1000 mile trips once a year.

negarholger | 01. august 2013

@ttoomm1 - in first place the trailer is a range reducer because it increases drag and roll resistance. If you want go that direction then Volt and I3 are much smarter solutions.

generubin | 01. august 2013

Tesla already comes in many areas with a "range extender". It is called a "supercharger".

ian | 01. august 2013

+1 generubin

olanmills | 02. august 2013

The only range extender I would ever want is a bigger battery.

And if battery swapping ever becomes a real option, then I would probably be fine with sticking to with my 85kWh battery and only swapping temporarily to some huge 1000 mile battery for a trip, and then getting my 85 kWh one back later.

plaikind | 02. august 2013

I like the idea of a range extender. It seems to me that another option would be a triple A like fleet of response vehicles that provide essentially a mobile supercharge. If you need a charge you arrange to meet a mobile charger at a specific locale. Obviously, this option could also be useful for the owner that inadvertently runs out of juice (the equivalent of running out of gas).

carlgo | 02. august 2013

Really there will be no excuse to run out of charge on the road. The computer knows where your are and where the chargers are and can make increasingly strident suggestions about what you had better do.

lyonel | 08. august 2013

Why not use solar panels to relieve the battery and to extend the range of the EV? How far is that technology? Like in the movie Looper.

Timo | 08. august 2013

You might get one mile more if you cover entire roof with solar panels. In a good day. With imaginary perfect solar panels you could get whopping four miles.

lyonel | 08. august 2013

Based on what information?

see other thread:

Of course it is not a realistic car but it must be possible to get more then four miles.

Timo | 08. august 2013

For real car, not really. Safety (crumble zones), rolling resistance with real tires, capability to actually go uphill and a bit rougher terrain (gravel), able to have some cargo besides people be able to go during winter and nighttime and you have a car that is quite different than that "car".

JaneW | 08. august 2013

"that kind of range when you have to stop for a pee and a snack every few hours anyway"

On long trips we often go 500 to 600 miles in a day, sometimes more. You go 300, pee, get gas and lunch, go another 300 get gas and find a motel and restaurant for the evening.

Go from Denver to San Francisco, or Chicago in two days.

For the next few years it will be more practical to have a small generator in an electric car than try to find superchargers every 200 miles, especially in the middle of Nevada or Iowa.

Brian H | 08. august 2013

Small generator = gasoline 'range extender'. Not the Tesla Way.

Yukon | 08. august 2013

I'm still trying to figure out how many charging stations are in Texas. The next major city from Dfw is more than 200 miles away. It sounds like the p85 may make it to Austin.
Most of the ICE cars I have owned made it around 350 miles per tank. We aren't very far from that with Tesla's current technology.

ian | 08. august 2013

Practical but not probable. If you're driving a Tesla, you'll just have to wait until the Superchargers cover your favorite routes. Until then, keep you favorite ICE.


Zooomer | 11. august 2013

I think the best way to tackle this would be to add an optional solar pack feature. It would be something inlaid into the car solving the issue of losing range while the car is parked and possibly extending driving range a few miles. It' not a game changer but I think it would sell and reduce the chance of bricking the battery.

Brian H | 11. august 2013

Horribly expensive per Wh.

wcalvin | 13. august 2013

There are weight penalties for carrying too much "just in case" items with you, whether it is an oversized fuel tank or the kitchen sink (and other such, in mobile homes).

It would seem that battery swap would be the answer for trying to cover 600 miles per day.

Timo | 13. august 2013

Hum? 80% in 45 minutes out of approx 265 miles is 212 miles. Two of those takes only one and half hours. That's 600 miles right there (initial 200+ and two SC stops). For 8-10 hour trip it only adds 1.5 hours.

vadik | 14. august 2013

I will buy a Tesla when somebody has a range extender in a trailer to sell me like those Freedom extenders in the link above. I find it so tremendously appealing cute that sometimes I think I only want an EV to have an extender trailer like this. Could be some biofuel to save my ecofreak face, too.

Brian H | 14. august 2013

The increase in the drag would almost eliminate the range gain. Lose-lose.

patientv | 15. august 2013

I'm a bit Looney, because I name all my cars, I have since I was 16 and I'm easily the most demanding driver a car could ever have. I love to drive, anywhere. I ride roads I've never been on just because which has, in the past got me in trouble. Ie NO cell service, no map, flat tires, run out of gas... I do have a three gallon gas can filled when I go just because. I say this to say I am one of those people who would buy a solar "gas can" for my Tesla if it were offered.

Cars represent freedom and I think It would be great to have a pack that charges your extra battery while your driving, parked, hiking, boating or whatever... And if you ever need an extra 10miles, plug and go. I can totally see myself half way down route 66 thanking goodness for the 10 extra miles. I know ZERO about solar tech but I do know people want to just getup and go....and maybe we're not there yet but I think Elon has already proven "If you build it, They will come"

Zooomer | 15. august 2013

The other point to realize is that it may be a waste of time to develop a range extender. The battery technology has already increased on the cells that the Tesla uses. It is zero work to upgrade from current 265 mile range to adding a few % from better batteries. Each year I believe this will happen and eventually you'll have a 600 mile Telsa. Kind of pointless for an extender at that point.

Bubba2000 | 15. august 2013

Several improvements can be made to Model S that can increase range:
1. Aerodynamic wheels with 19" tires - done already. Need to be aesthetic.
2. Improve air flow underneath the car. Some of it has been done, but it could improved around the wheels to reduce turbulence.
3. Optional side view cameras, removable mirrors. Good for highway driving. In traffic I prefer regular mirrors.
4. Smart cruise control with lane assist - In the highway once a lane is set, the cruise control can keep track of the traffic. Adjust speed, regen, coasting, etc for energy conservation.
5. Brake can be optimized to take max advantage of regen braking.
6. Weight Loss - At 4,647, I think Model S can shed a few hundred pounds by using stronger alloys of Al, structural design optimization.
7. Add a few more Li-ion cells? 100- 120 KW-hr premium version, anybody?

Brian H | 15. august 2013

Towing a range extender would skyrocket the odds you would need to use it. More batteries is always a better plan.

vadik | 16. august 2013

That's why a genset on a trailer is such a beautiful idea. Tesla would work out perfect for me 360 days a year except for those 5 days I regularly have to drive half a thousand miles into the jungle.

Five days a year I hook it up and I am a happy customer. I don't even have to own it, maybe Tesla couzld rent it out at the suoercharger stations.

And I don't even want more batteries in the car for every day as they cost weight and dollars.

Brian H | 16. august 2013

You have gas stations you can visit to feed the genset in the jungle? Or you carry 100 gal. of fuel for it as well? Riiigghhttt.

vadik | 16. august 2013

What are the odds of bumping into a gas station in the jungle vs a Supercharger? Even in 2019?

cloroxbb | 16. august 2013


You should probably stick with an ICE or a hybrid then, because Tesla will never do that.

Haeze | 16. august 2013

Despite all the reasons not to use a traditional fuel generator for range extending, the idea of using a piston engine, even a diesel, is a terrible one.

The most efficient motor you could use for the purpose of generating electricity would be a gas turbine engine (yes, a jet engine). They are currently about the highest efficiency engine that gets its power from fossil fuels. The reason we don't use them in cars is that they have an EXTREMELY small peak power band. When generating electricity though, that is all you need.

A gas turbine engine the size of a watermelon could supply enough power to run the car, and charge the batteries at the same time.

vadik | 16. august 2013

You should probably stick with an ICE or a hybrid then, because Tesla will never do that.


Tesla just needs to provide a charging socket in the rear bumper. A trailer with a genset can come from another company.

And hybrids are for pussies.

Robison | 23. september 2013

I think It would be a good idea (considering this is possible), if Tesla could lower the acceleration/power and use the energy to increase range. They could probably have this function as one that you could switch on or off, since the Toyota Prius has a function like this, which the driver can switch into and out of using it.

Timo | 23. september 2013

Power and range are not mutually exclusive in BEV. Large battery just gives lots of power. IIRC there is some sort of economode in Model S already, but it just does what you can do yourself IE not floor it in every opportunity.

By far the biggest factor in range is speed. Reduce speed and you get bigger range. Sweet spot for max range is somewhere near 25mph.

JHM | 23. september 2013

Tesla has a patent for a hybrid battery system that incorporates two kinds of battery. The first is a standard lithium ion battery that recharges quick and can be recharge thousands of cycles. The second is a metal-air battery which is lower cost and holds more kWh per kg. This second battery does not charge as quickly and has a shorter life about 400 cycles. The idea is that the first battery is for everyday sort distance travel. It may have the range of say 150 miles. The second battery is for occasional long distance travel adding say 250 miles or more range. If the secondary battery is only recharged about 20 times a year it will last for 20 years, adding little additional weight or cost to the vehicle. This is one potential way that Gen 3 vehicles could deliver a 400+ mile range at an affordable price.

Brian H | 23. september 2013

Yeah, it's an interesting trade-off. 300 mi at 55 mph, and 33% more range at 45% the speed.