xirtus
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:19 am

generator as range extender

Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:30 am

can the focus run while plugged in? I don't mean to the wall but perhaps a range extender could be possible. In the spirit of the volt, I am thinking about getting a small generator and level2 charger and I wanted to know if anyone has done something like this already.

In general has anyone found a solution to the contestable poor range of the Focus Electric? I love my car but it's unnerving I was pitched "close to 100 miles" when I've never seen much more than 60 and in honesty thats downhill and flat, in serious driving I don't see half of that. When I drive home over the 17, our aggressively steep mountainous and consistently curvy 2 lane highway from Santa Cruz to Silicon Valley I can barely make it. I am praying every time to get 30 miles out of it, unless I finesse every butterfly out of the thing and use the force excessively to supplement my vehicles midichlorian count with my own to battle each and ever of the countless uphill battles I face day to day.

jmueller065
Posts: 2386
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Location: Southeastern MI
Contact: Website

Re: generator as range extender

Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:34 am

No: If its plugged in it will yell at you to unplug when you attempt to start it.

What will it do if its already "running" and you plug it in? I don't know, never tried that.
2018 Cajun Red Chevy Bolt
2016 Magnetic C-Max Energi (lease returned)
2014 Sunset Escape
2014 Thor Axis (V-10)
2013 Focus Electric (lease returned Jan 2016 for the C-Max above)
https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/

campfamily
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:07 am
Location: Southern California

Re: generator as range extender

Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:35 am

xirtus wrote:can the focus run while plugged in? I don't mean to the wall but perhaps a range extender could be possible. In the spirit of the volt, I am thinking about getting a small generator and level2 charger and I wanted to know if anyone has done something like this already.

In general has anyone found a solution to the contestable poor range of the Focus Electric? I love my car but it's unnerving I was pitched "close to 100 miles" when I've never seen much more than 60 and in honesty thats downhill and flat, in serious driving I don't see half of that. When I drive home over the 17, our aggressively steep mountainous and consistently curvy 2 lane highway from Santa Cruz to Silicon Valley I can barely make it. I am praying every time to get 30 miles out of it, unless I finesse every butterfly out of the thing and use the force excessively to supplement my vehicles midichlorian count with my own to battle each and ever of the countless uphill battles I face day to day.
Our cars will not run if you try to start it while plugged in. I tried this while I was plugged into the wall, and the car gave me a warning and it wouldn't give me the "ready to drive" symbol. What I don't know is what would happen if you plugged in while the car was already running; would it quit running? Sounds like an experiment to try at home.

Also, most generators provide 110V power, so you wouldn't be able to run a Level 2 charger. And, even if you could, the generator required to provide that amount of power likely wouldn't fit in the car. I have a Honda generator (EU2000) that is rated for 2kW 110V, and it weighs about 55 pounds.

Final thought....our cars take about 2.5 hours to charge fully using a Level 2 charger. Assuming you could get a Level 2 charge while driving, would the charge rate keep up with the discharge rate?

Keith
GONE - 2015 FFE, Magnetic with leather interior, debadged & tinted
38,500 miles (since May 2015), average 246 Wh/mile

REPLACED WITH - 2018 Tesla Model3, LR RWD, Obsidian Black
11,000 miles (since Nov 2018), average 235 Wh/mile

michael
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:55 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: generator as range extender

Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:00 am

The easiest way to accomplish what you are asking about is with what's called a "pusher trailer". This is a small trailer with a gas engine that helps the car along, adds energy simply by regeneration. When you don't need it, leave it at home.

I personally know a guy who regularly drives an EV between Utah and Los Angeles with this approach. I've driven his car, it works pretty well. I believe he can maintain 50-60 MPH indefinitely with an old VW engine.

Google it. Here's just one example

http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... 115x231293

Honda makes 18 HP small engines, as one example. I'm pretty sure that is plenty for anything short of crossing the Rockies Another options might be to adapt the rear half of a wrecked motorcycle as a fifth wheel pusher.

While it is possible to modify the electrical system to add energy into the battery while driving, a pusher trailer requires no modification to the car other than mounting a trailer hitch.
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327
Awaiting a Bolt

xirtus
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:19 am

Re: generator as range extender

Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:14 am

While the car is running he puts energy in? what kind of car does he have not a focus I assume? thats the question how to get energy in to the bank while driving. Thanks for the information on trailer range extenders, its basically the idea but I want smaller and maybe on my roof or something instead of on a whole other trailer. Also above good question about discharge I would like to know more about that as well.
China makes really small 240 generators, assuming I can find a quality one with good reviews from a reliable source which there are more an more of I think its possible to avoid the trailer. I believe I've seen already for sale something like it online I'm trying to refind the link on aliexpress for a "ev range extender" with a remarkably small generator and level 2 charger actually built in but I would probably use my own juicebox. The trailer would be too big for me but I believe that is the old way and proof of purpose so thanks for the link

So we need to try to plug it in after the car is on. OR get the car to stop making arbitrary rules. Can the settings be altered? can changes be made to the OS / has anyone hacked the focus computers system software?

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Too-elec ... 18400_6151

michael
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:55 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: generator as range extender

Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:38 am

This guy happens to drive a Rav 4 EV, but it works identically with any EV. The pusher moves the car along, it's just like coasting down a hill. Regeneration automatically puts the excess energy back into the battery.

But even if it didn't (i.e., if the engine size weren't enough to move you as fast as you want to go) that would still help by reducing the energy needed from the battery. But to answer your question...yes, regeneration automatically charges the battery when you lift throttle.

Your idea of electrically charging the battery can be made to work, of course, but the pusher approach requires essentially no mods to the car.

I also came across this

http://www.star-engines.com/#home

I don't know if it's actually available, and the version shown has a European EV connector, but it might give you an idea....

But in all honesty....if you frequently need extended range, a Volt or BMW I3 with extender is the best and easiest way to go.
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327
Awaiting a Bolt

triangles
Posts: 1056
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:40 am
Location: Toledo, Ohio

Re: generator as range extender

Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:44 pm

xirtus wrote:In general has anyone found a solution to the contestable poor range of the Focus Electric?
xirtus, in theory a it can be done. And I'm sure someone smarter with electrical stuff than me could probably explain it better. You would have to add an auxiliary charger to the car similar to what sefs did. the generator would power this auxiliary charger and then it would feed that power into the battery bus which would power the wheels and any excess would go into the battery. I'm assuming if the car wanted more juice that the Auxiliary charger can supply it, the slack would be taken up by the battery. Problems would likely arise with regen and fry your auxiliary charger. I'd consult with an electrical engineer but I think if you just tried to feed a high voltage DC generator you'd have to figure out how to make it deal with regen and not to mention figuring out how to have it cut off before you overcharged your battery. All of this involves a lot of EXPENSIVE custom stuff with no guarentee that it would actually work. This would be a deterrent for most people.

The alternative is a mechanical pusher trailer. Recycling the drivetrain from a gas car and making a trailer out of it. The CTO of tesla made a few of these back in his college days. His first attempt used an old VW beetle and his final version used the front clip from a vw golf to push his porsche he had converted to electric. I have often toyed with the idea of doing something similar. I even came up with plans and devised how to implement one. I would question the safety of such a device not to mention the legalities of it. Also I'm pretty sure it would void the warranty since the FFE is not rated to tow anything.

Please keep us posted if you pursue either of these. I can't be the only one who would be interested to hear about it.
2014 Blue Candy FFE
http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/focus/2014/triangles/303811 (since this forum doesn't allow BBcode in sigs)

breeves002
Site Moderator
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:56 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: generator as range extender

Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:03 pm

While the answer is yes and many people before me answered pretty well, I wanted to add a few things.

It's very expensive to add a range extender. Buy a Fusion Energi or Volt or something else.

You need a two phase power generator so it can do two 120v out of phase lines for a L2 EVSE. These are quite expensive. Like triangles said, you'd have to add an actual charger to the car. If you want to be able to charge it as fast as you're using it, the only answer would be to utilize a DC fast charger type setup. You can pull a lot of current from that motor. I could be wrong about this but just thinking about it seems like the only logical answer. If you can actually get 27.5a or more into the battery through a L2 EVSE (the one sefs put in is only 3.3kW or 13.75a@240v) then you would definitely have some extra range. I really don't think you could run indefinitely though. Maybe at the right speed in the right conditions.

Something like this... http://www.lowes.com/pd_204373-348-3020 ... 32f5bc271f

Or this bad boy: http://powerequipment.honda.com/generat ... ls/eb10000
^You could say your car is powered by a Honda! :lol:
2014 FFE Tuxedo Black - Leather - EV ST
2016 Mustang GT Premium - Performance Package - 401A - 2018 Digital Cluster

Tom French
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:46 am
Location: Central Florida

Re: generator as range extender

Sat May 07, 2016 7:50 am

xirtus wrote:can the focus run while plugged in? I don't mean to the wall but perhaps a range extender could be possible. In the spirit of the volt, I am thinking about getting a small generator and level2 charger and I wanted to know if anyone has done something like this already.

In general has anyone found a solution to the contestable poor range of the Focus Electric? I love my car but it's unnerving I was pitched "close to 100 miles" when I've never seen much more than 60 and in honesty thats downhill and flat, in serious driving I don't see half of that. When I drive home over the 17, our aggressively steep mountainous and consistently curvy 2 lane highway from Santa Cruz to Silicon Valley I can barely make it. I am praying every time to get 30 miles out of it, unless I finesse every butterfly out of the thing and use the force excessively to supplement my vehicles midichlorian count with my own to battle each and ever of the countless uphill battles I face day to day.

Are you setting the gear shifter to "L"

I always run in "L" gear, when foot oof throttle, it return charges, twice the juice, or so better then "D" gear.

You will notice a slight difference in breaking when it is in "L", as it tends to be automatically applying a bit of brake.
2013 Volt Blue (lease expires Aug. 2015)
2015 FFE Performance Blue

Rogerschro
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:55 am
Location: Bellbrook Ohio

Re: generator as range extender

Mon May 09, 2016 3:33 am

One question I would have is what about heat generation? Wouldn't there be some concern about the amount of heat buildup in the batteries and in the electrical components, lines etc? I'm not sure the FFE would handle the extra load of charging and discharging at the same time, or pulling that level of energy through the system. Maybe I am over thinking it?

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