One of the most fascinating experiences I have had recently was a two-day technical mega-brief on BMW’s upcoming Megacity Vehicle.
However, even though the first MCVs will be pure electric cars, it will be the ‘range-extender’ version (probably powered by a 1-litre, two-cylinder, engine/generator) that will be the real ground breaking model.I have become convinced that the future for ultra-low CO2 vehicles, especially for anything bigger than a Golf, lies with range-extender technology.
One of the biggest problems for pure-electric vehicles is not just the driver’s ‘range anxiety’ but also the huge draw on battery power required by lights and heating in winter. Cold weather also wallops the battery’s performance.
Using a range-extender layout fixes these problems and should be no more expensive than a pure electric car.
The key about combining a petrol engine/generator and battery pack is that it can deliver the performance of a big internal combustion engine along with very low emissions of both CO2 and pollutants.
Take Jaguar’s Limo Green project. It’s driven by an electric motor good for 195bhp and 295lb ft of torque. With all the torque available from start-up, performance is first-rate.