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Can I charge my Model S on a generator? (Is that a generator in your frunk?)

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Meursault, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Meursault

    Meursault Member

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    Knowing absolutely nothing about the technical feasibility of this, would it be possible to carry on board in the trunk or frunk a portable gas powered generator to use in certain emergency situations? Could a typical 120 output generator be modified to be more efficient and provide quicker charge times?
     
  2. SuperCoug

    SuperCoug Model S Res #7734

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    That really doesn't make sense to me. If you're going to add all the extra weight of a gas generator and fuel you might as well make it a modified hybrid system like the Fisker Karma. I think there are distinct advantages to being a pure electric even if it does increase range anxiety.
     
  3. Johann Koeber

    Johann Koeber Member

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    #3 Johann Koeber, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
    I am a bit optimistic about the range question. The display tells you the approximate range you have. The navigation system tells you how far you have to go to get to your destination. If you get low on range, you drive slower (thus more efficiently.

    For an interview Mr. Graf von Harrer (German Tesla Sales Manager) drove from Munich to Friedberg with his Tesla roadster. When he was offered a plug in for his roadster, he mentioned that he wasn't even carrying a charging cabel with him. He was applauded for his confidence in the range of the car.

    Personally I currently drive a Hybrid from Lexus, albeit not a plug-in. I look forward to going 100 % electrric.

    What about emergencies?

    Well, here in Germany, I guess you are never more than 3 miles away from an electric outlet. People are friendly and help you out. I used to drive an all electric Mini-El and never went out of juice.
     
  4. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    You might be able to carry a small 2000-watt generator. For instance this Yamaha one: http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-EF2000iS-4-Stroke-Generator-Compliant/dp/B002RWK9N2/ref=pd_sim_lg_1 Put out 13.3 amps continuous. It's CARB compliant, it's got a true inverter, so the Tesla charger might actually be OK with it. Only 5 miles/hour of charging, though. At 20" x 18" x 11", it should fit in the frunk easily.

    Matter of fact, two of them might fit, and Yamaha has a parallel cable that gives you about 27 amps at 110 via a 30A RV connector - for about $2100 and under 100 pounds total.

    What I don't know is fluid leakage - oil and gas. You almost certainly will need to drain all the gas out since these tanks are typically vented, but I don't know about oil leaks. And then you either need to hang out by the gas station, or carry gas with you, which is smelly and leak prone as well....
     
  5. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Just install a Mr. Fusion system!

    Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Tapatalk 2
     
  6. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    A small generator that makes 27 amps at 110 volts would give you about 8-9 miles of range per hour that it runs.
    When the generator stops running, you'd need to wait a long time for it to cool off before putting it back in the frunk.
    Carrying a gas can in the frunk is not something I want to do either.

    Finding a 110 outlet isn't that hard. If you find two 110 outlets that are on different phases then you can easily match the output of that generator.

    Carry an extension cord instead. With a 50 foot heavy extension cord in your frunk you should be able to reach the dryer plug in just about any house.
     
  7. austria1

    austria1 Member

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    I also thoght about that first... carrying some diesel generator with me, a simmilar one which is used at the construction area.

    When I lookt them up I discover 2 things

    1: "small" generators don't deliver more than lets say maximum 12 kw if you want to carry them around. So charging would least so long that you get old waiting for it. ( However such a large generator would be better carried arround as a hanger)

    2: These things are damm heavy !!! look at the page below (sry its german) but the generator ( 3 phases -400 Volt 15,9 Amps delivers 11 kw) and it weighs 145 kg ! (so ~ 320 pounds)

    http://www.atc-ag.ch/files/ECHO%281%29.pdf

    I dont know but I think carrying arround another 320 pounds in your car will reduce your range massive. So maybe, if you dont take this generator with you you perhabs dont have to use it at all.
    Hehe :smile: see what I want to say ?

    All in all I think for the price of the generator and the diesel you can pay a lot of electricity from an public charging station...
     
  8. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Someone has done just that with their LEAF:
    My Nissan Leaf Forum View topic - charging on generator
     
  9. austria1

    austria1 Member

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    Hmm okay after some calculating :

    For the 85 kwh battery of the model s, you have to charge 59 hours with this thing and refuel it 6 times :smile:haha

    okay but lets say we just use it for emergency, you can run this thing for 10 hours, and recharge 14,16 kwh in this time.
    Model S needs ~12,5 kwh/100km or ~ 62 miles

    so you recharge roughly 62 miles range in ~8,5 hours.

    In an emergency you will load, lets say 30 miles, to get to the next socket, so it will last about 3 or 4 hours of charging time.

    A bit long dont you think ? I would get old in that time, or just call a wrecker, because my automobil club does that for free haha :)

    Just kiding about that because its all so controversial :) but I think for absolute emergencies it would be better than a fist in your face... :wink:

    All in all if you want to do this professional you should do it this way :

    Baldor 49 kW Industrial Standby Towable Generator | Wayfair

    haha greetings :smile:
     
  10. KBF

    KBF Model S 2017

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    I think in an emergency you're better off with towing. Emergencies of this sort are actually quite rare since most of us drive in familiar areas, and hauling a heavy generator (and with smelly explosive fuel - yikes!) will only hurt your efficiency for the 99% of the time you don't need it. The beauty of electric is that you start out full every morning, so unless you're stretching the range and inclement weather seriously reduces range I don't think you'll run into the problem of running out of juice. Just get the right size pack for your needs and you'll be fine :smile:
     
  11. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    *KBF* is right and if you were driving a gas car across a deserted loooong distance wouldn't you top up the gas first? Why wouldn't you do the same thing in an EV? In any case:

    1. There's plenty of charge station apps. Having been driving a Roadster for over a year, I can't envisage running out of electrons.
    2. AAA have been expanding their emergency services to cover EV's.
    3. Isn't the risk of being stuck in the desert/forest with no outlet in sight low enough vs the potential cost of a tow service vs the hassle and time involved in trying to carry a generator and fuel?
     
  12. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Funnily enough I use an EU20i to charge the batteries on my plug-in hybrid GMC day van ;)
     
  13. daxz

    daxz Member

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    Emergency self reliant Options :
    1. Carry Generator - many options give above...
    2. Create a small pusher (extremely small engine that has enough power to maintain a Tesla at highway speeds ) - you could possibly use regen to get recharged too

    Emergency Options with help from someone else:
    3. Have generator come to you
    4. Get towed from flat bed
    5. Get pulled (carry a tow strap) (you could even get regen charging)
    6. Drive to a plug


    A generator could be made with better charging times - hook a small powerful engine to a large DC motor/generator to produce enough wattage to do fast DC charging. (no need to loose power in AC/DC inverters)
    You could also try to do range extending with an engine to AC motor like: Product Prototypes Range Extender Module


    I think it would be easier to just go to were there is a plug - there should be plenty of warning that your getting extremely low in charge. A generator large enough to give you standard electrical outlet charging speeds (10kW) is going to weigh a significant amount 200+ lbs even if it is custom built for DC charging.
     
  14. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Taking a page out of DavidM's book....Here's his quiz:

    So, how about adding a question or two:

    1. Do you check you have gas before a long car journey?
    2. Do you carry a spare can of gas in case you run out?

    I suspect that 99% of the time the answers to the above questions are 1. "Yes" and 2. "No". So why would it be different in a Model S? Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't understand the discussion about generators.....
     
  15. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Unrecognized range anxiety.
     
  16. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Is there a cure?
     
  17. BriansTesla

    BriansTesla Old school meets new tech

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    How about a small trailer with 20-50KWH of batteries on board just for long trips? It could have it's own charger.

    The weight would not not have too much effect at steady speeds and a small trailer can actually be very aerodynamic.
     
  18. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Yes. Drive an electric car for a little while and you realize 'range anxiety' has completely gone away.

    (But you knew that. :))

    Seriously, before I started driving my Roadster, I worried about range and ohmygodwhatwillIdoifIrunoutandthereisntanywheretogetacharge. You know. And then you realize you're always starting the day with a full car, there are iPhone apps that tell you where chargers are on a road trip, there is always an RV park, and it is No. Big. Deal.

    And I"m going off-topic. So ... The. End.
     
  19. twisti

    twisti Model S #7,439

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  20. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    I think Tesla omitted the trailer hook on Model S on a purpose - to prevent people from towing gensets, emergency battery packs, micro turbines or other such stuff. :biggrin: Model S will help to establish confidence in driving electric within its broader customer base. Hopefully, in 2-3 years from now, nobody will ask for a generator in a Gen III car because by then the differences should be clear in everybody's mind: Either get a Volt or drive an EV within its range/recharge time limits.
     

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