Swiss firm offers novel solution to range anxiety problems associated with electric cars
6 March 2012

Swiss firm Rinspeed is addressing the range anxiety issue associated with electric city cars with its innovative new Rinspeed Dock+Go concept at today's Geneva motor show.

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive-based concept features a detachable trailer axle – which Rinspeed calls a ‘backpack on wheels’ – that can house a combustion engine or range extender, be packed with batteries or powered by a fuel cell. This ‘backpack’ powers the rear wheels of the Fortwo, thus increasing the otherwise limited range of the electric Fortwo.

See official pics of the Rinspeed Dock+Go

If a driver is only going to undertake a short journey, then the ‘backpack’ can be removed and the car’s standard all-electric range remains. Rinspeed’s creator Frank M Rinderknecht calls this charging range-extending system a ‘vario-hybrid’.

When the pack with auxiliary batteries is docked and the vehicle is not in use, the pack can be used to provide electricity to the driver's home.

The trailer comes in various sizes and styles to meet a variety of different potential uses. Those outlined by Rinspeed include a heated box for pizza delivery drivers or a mobile toolbox for craftsman. It can also be adapted for storing golf clubs or equipment for camping trips. Any battery packs can be recharged using solar panels on the roof.

Although the concept is based around the Smart Fortwo ED, the Dock+Go system could conceivably be attached to other vehicles.

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Comments
20

7 December 2011

Interesting approach. Bonus points for lateral thinking.

7 December 2011

I see what they are trying to do surely the Chevy Volt which runs on electric until the batteries are flat, when the ICE cuts in, without the faff of having to hook up a trailer, is a far more elegant solution?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

7 December 2011

[quote TegTypeR]

I see what they are trying to do surely the Chevy Volt which runs on electric until the batteries are flat, when the ICE cuts in, without the faff of having to hook up a trailer, is a far more elegant solution?

[/quote] There is far more space in a Volt for range extender technology. The Smart takes up far less road space which could be a boon in congested city environments. If somebody needs to use this technology, they will probably be travelling beyond that congestion where space is less of an issue.

7 December 2011

Would this be possible? I read about the new Ford 1.0L three cylinder that could sit on a sheet of A4 paper. Would it be possible to have a docking engine unit that slides into the boot when you need it. You would have some kind of contraption that holds the engine in your garage that you hook up to the rear of the car and it electrically slides the engine/fuel tank unit into position. The whole assembly would be smaller then the Ford unit, say 700cc, and as it's only being used as a generator it wouldn't have to be mechanically connected to the car. Any ideas? I'm sure it would be safe enough and a 3 gallon tank should be good for getting onto 200 miles on a run. It means you're not carrying all that dead weight around town when you're not using it.

DKW

8 December 2011

They could refine the concept further, so instead of having an electric motor, heavy ecologically damaging batteries and a trailer with a combustion engine in it, why not replace all the heavy electrical stuff with an on-board combustion engine. It's light, simple, reliable, is cheap to produce, has no range anxiety and is fuel efficient.

8 December 2011

[quote DKW]why not replace all the heavy electrical stuff with an on-board combustion engine. It's light, simple, reliable, is cheap to produce, has no range anxiety and is fuel efficient[/quote]Absolutely, and that oil rig that spewed crude into the ocean could be on another planet for all it affects us motorists.

8 December 2011

[quote jmd67]I'm sure it would be safe enough and a 3 gallon tank should be good for getting onto 200 miles on a run. It means you're not carrying all that dead weight around town when you're not using it.[/quote] I see your point, but unless you had the foresight to plan every trip you make in advance, when you did need it the chances are it would be in your garage and not in the back of your car.

The Chevrolet Volt and other range extenders are the only viable option for those of us who don't have charging points at home and everywhere we may wish to go. Ultimately, fuel cell cars will be the answer but that's a good 20 years away and requires a huge investment in the infrastructure and Nuclear energy to produce the hydrogen in the first place.

This is only my opinion, not a know all I'm cleverer than you lecture.

 

 

8 December 2011

[quote Los Angeles]and that oil rig that spewed crude into the ocean could be on another planet for all it affects us motorists[/quote] I think you're being a bit tough on the motorist. The oil rig would still be drilling for oil if we all drove electric cars, it's just that the oil would be feeding the generators of a power station instead of our cars tanks.

 

 

8 December 2011

Someone needs to come up with a better term than 'range anxiety'. All I think of when I read/see/hear that is bladder weakness.

8 December 2011

[quote The Colonel]Someone needs to come up with a better term than 'range anxiety'. All I think of when I read/see/hear that is bladder weakness.[/quote]

Thank you Colonel, you've brightened up my day :¬)

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