Nov 18, 2010

Science Scene - Interim Battery Charge Solution

An India-based company called Electric Motors and Vehicles has developed what they believe is a great intermediate solution to EV range anxiety before a real network of EV charging stations is built. The concept is called the Pru and it's a self-propelled trailer containing an electric generator and batteries that attaches to an EV and keeps it charged on longer trips.

The creators of the Pru think that EV charging infrastructure won't grow as quickly as its needed with the introduction of new EVs on the road.  The Pru trailer, with its lithium ion batteries and 750 cc diesel generator, could allow an EV driver to go 700 miles on six gallons of fuel -- a fuel economy of about 116 mpg.

The trailer would propel itself with a 240V DC motor, always matching the car's speed so there is no stress on the car's motor.  It would connect via a "Smart Hitch" that would send signals to the speed controller based on the tugging or tension on the hitch.  A GPS unit would analyze the route's typography to maximize battery efficiency.

To top it off, the batteries and generator only take up a fourth of the storage space in the trailer.  The rest is left for whatever stuff you need to carry on your trip.

The Pru is still just a concept with no prototype produced yet, but the company thinks that units will be ready by early 2011 and at a cost of about $15,000.



  1. What a cool idea. I also liked the notion of embedding magnets in the road to generate power as we drvie over them. I think that might work both to charge batteries in our cars as well as generate electricity on the other end.

  2. Another example of false economy. $15,000 buys a lot of gasoline. Factoring in the cost differential between a currently available hybrid vehicle, and a new Electric Vehicle, and adding the cost of the "PRU," and increased home electricity bills that come along with recharging a vehicle every night, it would be impossible to recoup one's expenditure with gasoline cost savings over the lifespan of the vehicle.

  3. I enjoyed the two previous comments... interesting to have such differing opinions on one post!

  4. I guess it's a good idea but the car shown is just way too small for my liking. Besides, I don't think any of my livestock will fit!

  5. Cool idea but I don't think the added distance is worth 15 grand-for that, I'd grab something with an efficient 4 cylinder and call it good.

  6. Ummmmm.... there is already the problem that electric cars won't pay for their price difference. Tack another $15,000 onto that? Not too bright! BTW- Houston leads the way in providing infrastructure to support electric mobility!


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