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So I was at Tractor Supply today looking at generators. I had a little bit of a silly idea that kept coming back around in my head. Maybe it's the dumbest idea ever.

So I was looking at the size of the generator and it got me to thinking. The place on the rear end where you can mount the bike rack, does anyone know what kind of weight they can hold, let's say you had a longer drive to cover and couldn't find a way to charge. Would it be stupid to think of possibly mounting a small generator back there? It would make the Smart in to a Chevy Volt kind of deal. I know it would be a little bit of a rig job and I have no idea what the legalities would look like. Just food for thought. Is it too stupid?


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Just say no, if that were viable we'd all be "generating" our perpetual smart.

The power loss simply cannot be replaced quickly enough...
 

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I know the consumption would exceed the charge but it might provide a good extension. Would you think?


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You might be able to double the range with the right components. But one component would be a second on-board charger. You won't get the factory charger to power up while the vehicle is moving. I've thought about it some. I put a Curt hitch on the ED and thought about adding a small quiet 2 KW generator in a flat plate slid into the hitch receptacle. But by the time you get a hitch, generator, second on-board charger (and figure out how to program it to not damage battery pack) it starts getting expensive and involved. But I still haven't given up. Still tinkering with making a folding solar panel rack to re-charge while out in the 'wild'. I bought the ED specifically to tinker with it. I have a company car that provides all my transportation needs. The Smart is strictly for fun and entertainment.
 

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Well, I have an inverter in my Prius, so If I got stuck in my Smart, I could drive the Prius over and charge it up! (Well hopefully there is a Starbucks near by to pass the time.)
 

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Efficiency of small gasoline generators is abysmal. You would likely get 15-20 mpg using one to charge a smart.
As others pointed out, you can't charge while driving, so this is only useful if you drive somewhere far away that is also off-grid (camping in the wilderness, maybe?)

Save the cost of the hitch-rack, generator, gasoline, and just rent a car for the camping trip.
 

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I think tow a generator defeat the purpose of EV car

For longer trip, it's better to rent a car

I was hoping if I can swap the on board charger for those Europe 22kwh DCFC one, it would only takes 45min to charge to full with lv3 public charger


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Understanding that it's human nature to push boundaries, from a practical perspective, I'd still say the juice isn't worth the squeeze (pun intended). You'll be much happier if you use the EV for its intended purpose and use an ICE for everything else. One day, in the not too distant future, we should have affordable long range EVs and convenient fast charging options, but for now we should stick with what EVs were designed to do.

Beyond the efficiency/redneck engineering issues, I would see a safety issue with a generator loaded with fuel in an unprotected tank strapped to the back of your car in the land of distracted drivers. Can you say rear end flambe? Also, the smart is already rear weight biased. Adding a generator way out back on a hitch would exacerbate that problem and could significantly affect handling.
 

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I was hoping if I can swap the on board charger for those Europe 22kwh DCFC one, it would only takes 45min to charge to full with lv3 public charger
That's not a DC-Fast Charger. It's AC.

Make sure you have 400VAC 3-phase public chargers in your area (unlikely if you're not in Europe).
Note that the part is > $5k just for the charger, plus cables and sundry items and labor, unless you want to try to electrocute yourself.
Oh, and you need a smartcenter to unlock the functionality, which they won't do.
 

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I'm a brand new Smart EV owner, and an EE. Dangerous combination, but it's in my nature to explore this very option.
Current thoughts:
You don't need to supplement 100% of your usage going down the road. For example I have a hitch carrier and a 3.5kw OHV gas generator, so these are all at no additional cost.
Above poster is correct, the charger receptacle is unavailable going down the road, which makes sense anyway, you wouldn't want that sticking out.
In my research, the Smart EV's battery is capable of much higher charge rates than currently controlled at. Infrastructure seems to be the reason chargers are power limited.
It appears our same car is charged in Europe at roughly double our level 2 rate, just because their voltage available is double what it is here. So the car's capable.
What would make the most sense, is to tap into the battery pack with a high amperage DC connector, to permit high amperage DC charging. Make up a full wave bridge rectifier for 240V AC input, fed from the generator's 240v output, it should be approximately the correct voltage output to charge a partially depleted battery. The EV pack appears to range from 380vdc full charged down to about 310vdc at near empty. That's a big window to operate in. Adjust the generator's governor to preset an amperage charge rate. Wouldn't exceed the 3.5kW generator's 10 amp output anyway, would be perfectly safe for the battery. This example would add roughly 1/3 use rate at highway operation, thus extending range that amount. Let it run at your destination. Sure, it's not quite as efficient as an ICE car. But it eliminates hours-long stops in between for medium distance trips. Charging stations in my research (those which aren't free) charge around 5x-6x the kwh rate I have at home. So the "not as efficient as an ICE" argument is moot. No waiting 3-4 hours at intermediate refuel stations. Seems like a no brainer to me. Still researching this. Of course there's the down side of risking one's warranty coverage by making a tap into the battery. Done right by capable individual, I don't think the risk is high.
 

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Another thought I had:
One could make an intermediate adapter for those fast charge stations which exist here and there. Or even the standard J1772 capable of higher outputs. Use firmware/hardware to control what the charging station thinks is connected to control its amperage-controlled output. Again rectify the AC output, feed directly into the battery plug discussed above. Let the car on so it cools the battery as needed during charging. With careful planning, one could feasibly get a nice fast charging arrangement, within reason.
 

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(..) In my research, the Smart EV's battery is capable of much higher charge rates than currently controlled at. Infrastructure seems to be the reason chargers are power limited.
It appears our same car is charged in Europe at roughly double our level 2 rate, just because their voltage available is double what it is here. So the car's capable.
The smart ED is/was available with a 22kW fast charger in Europe.

I never understood why the regular charger in stateside models limits the charge power to 3.3kW even if level 2 stations could provide more than double that.
 

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The smart ED is/was available with a 22kW fast charger in Europe.

I never understood why the regular charger in stateside models limits the charge power to 3.3kW even if level 2 stations could provide more than double that.
Cost + Increased Price due to Add'l Cost + Very limited infrastructure in the USA to handle 22kW (especially in 2013).
 

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And here I had written the idea off as totally stupid.
The question is worthy, the "idea" may be DOA?

Bear in mind that the multiple generations of ED 451 have been a work in progress or Beta Test. As to the 3.3 kW charger - with Europe being a 220V world and the target audience, we become an afterthought. Due to EPA and other regulations, sometimes what happens in Europe, stays in Europe . . .

IF there was an easy, safe workaround to provide more range (without compromising the warranty) some of the smarter guys in the room would have already done it. There may be a reason that no one on the Forum is towing a Cummins Diesel generator . . .

Sometimes the "juice" just isn't worth the squeeze. :shrug:
 

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The question is worthy, the "idea" may be DOA?

Bear in mind that the multiple generations of ED 451 have been a work in progress or Beta Test. As to the 3.3 kW charger - with Europe being a 220V world and the target audience, we become an afterthought. Due to EPA and other regulations, sometimes what happens in Europe, stays in Europe . . .

IF there was an easy, safe workaround to provide more range (without compromising the warranty) some of the smarter guys in the room would have already done it. There may be a reason that no one on the Forum is towing a Cummins Diesel generator . . .

Sometimes the "juice" just isn't worth the squeeze. :shrug:
I think it would have been worth it to us buyers. But it would have added additional cost, and I guess additional price (or greater losses to keep at the same price) would have resulted.
 
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