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Report: "Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles 2011–2021"

About eight million hybrid cars will be made in 2021, each with a range extender, the additional power source that distinguishes them from pure electric cars. Add to that significant money spent on the same devices in buses, military vehicles, boats and so on and a major new market emerges.

This unique report is about range extenders for all these purposes – their evolving technology and market size. Whereas today's range extenders usually consist of little more than off the shelf internal combustion engines, these are rapidly being replaced by second generation range extenders consisting of piston engines designed from scratch for fairly constant load in series hybrids. There are some wild cards like Wankel engines and rotary combustion engines or free piston engines both with integral electricity generation. However a more radical departure is the third generation micro turbines and fuel cells that work at constant load. The report compares all these. It forecasts the lower power needed over the years given assistance from fast charging and energy harvesting innovations ahead. Every aspect of the new range extenders is covered.

Second or third generation?

The more battery/less engine scenario is encompassed in the term range extended hybrid. These second generation engines retain piston driven, internal combustion technology. By contrast, third generation hybrid engines dispense with pistons in order to improve environmental credentials even more and offer further benefits of size, weight, cost, reliability, economy and alternative fuels or at least some of these. The question is whether we shall jump straight to these third generation engines for hybrids. After all, they are already seen in some buses and aircraft and a Suzuki two wheeler and they are in trials on many other platforms.

Taking the second generation approach, Lotus, the DLR German Aerospace Agency and others have designed simplified "monoblock" engines that are more economical in fuel use, lower cost to buy, less polluting, space saving and potentially more reliable.

Taking the third generation approach are fuel cells from Intelligent Energy in the UK and others and Bladon Jets mini turbines. Bladon Jets in the UK is an investment of Tata Motors Europe, which will incorporate two of these devices in each of its planned Jaguar CX75 electric supercars. Daimler AG subsidiary Mercedes Benz in Germany will soon put on sale the world's first electric car with a fuel cell range extender. In Italy, ENFICA-FC has successfully flown its two seater aircraft with a fuel cell range extender and AeroVironment in the USA has fuel cell extended unmanned aerial vehicles in the form of aircraft, a Northrop Grumman version being a fuel cell range extended electric airship.

Could these third generation hybrid power trains enter mass markets soon and obsolete second generation designed-to-purpose ICE range extenders before they are launched? The answer seems to be no. There is now evidence that there is some window of opportunity for the interim product perhaps upgrading the impressive Adam Opel Ampera in Europe, for example. To find out more purchase "Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles 2011–2021" for $3995 (or $4250 for an electronic copy plus a hard copy). Send us an enquiry for more information.

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