Electric cars are great. Except for the limited range part, which rules out any trips bound to take longer than your regular drive to work. The Pru (Power Regeneration Unit) offers a possible solution, equipping your EV with a trailer that houses batteries and an electric generator.
Developed by Electric Motors and Vehicles (EMAV), the trailer should offer an in-the-meantime solution for the lack of robust recharging infrastructure plaguing the predicted onslaught of EV motorists within the short term. After all, there’s no sense trading in your gas-guzzler permanently if the electric car won’t serve your long-driving needs as it does your daily commute.
The Pru pairs a 750-cc diesel generator with a lithium ion battery array that can add up to 600 miles to your range using 6 gallons of gas. It can also be used as a standalone charging unit, in case your fellow EV motorists require some extra juice on the road. Instead of being towed by your car, the trailer actually runs itself using a Smart Hitch connected to the vehicle’s rear (which detects your going speed by the amount of pulling, tugging and tension when you move) and a 240V DC motor.
Measuring six feet long, the trailer also doubles as an extra storage compartment, with over half of the space being usable for dumping your gear (the batteries and motors all sit at the bottom). The first units, which they’re hoping to introduce in 2011, will be sized to match small and mid-size cars.
So far, the Pru is only in the design stages with no prototype available, so this might not even make it to production. The idea makes sense, though, and is actually a feasible solution for the lack of range today’s EV owners are bound to experience first-hand.