Announcing the EV capacitor

OK, so, we know that folks who drive ICEs sometimes run out of petrol/derv. So, hitchhike, get a can of gas, return, carry on.

Can’t do that with a ‘leccie. Got to get power source to come to car, or tow car.

So, an American small fry company has just seen it’s stock jump from $3 to $10 by announcing the mobile charging solution. Which is a diesel generator on the back of a truck. Which is pretty cool I thought.

But that’s not good enough. We here, we stout readers and creators – for you are all such with your comments – of this blog are going to go one better.

We’re going to create the company which sells capacitors for EVs.

Well, maybe capacitor isn’t the right word. But, back when, you used to be able to buy little gadgets – they were a big craze for a short while – which would short an AA battery or the like into your mobile phone battery. Give you 10 mins or whatever of charge. So, how do we do this with car batteries? What’s going to be that emergency burst of 5 miles (say) of ‘leccie that can be carried in the boot, on the back of a two truck, to get a power stranded EV up the road to a charger?

I assume the answer is either a diesel engine or nowt, given that shorting enough power to actually charge an EV would kill but is this so? And anyway, who cares, just think of the stock price!

40 thoughts on “Announcing the EV capacitor”

  1. Many wholly electric cars have a petrol range extender. My BMW i3 does. Spins a generator to give some extra sparks and 60 miles range if the battery is emptied. So probably not needed, but if you empty that too then you’re back to hiking to the garage for a few litres of unleaded.

    I think the eco zealots will ultimately try to kill petrol altogether – so range extenders will become useless. As will lawnmowers, chainsaws, woodchippers, trimmers, weed whackers, generators, etc. That’ll be a laugh! (not)

  2. Patrick, California has already banned lawnmowers, chainsaws, woodchippers, trimmers, weed whackers and generators.

  3. Patrick, California has already banned lawnmowers, chainsaws, woodchippers, trimmers, weed whackers and generators.

    Calif banned the sale of new ones effective 2024 but hasn’t yet outlawed the use of old ones. Likely plenty will still be purchased out of state.

  4. Let’s just hope that Teslas and other shite of that ilk stop on ‘Smart’ motorways. No leccie means no warning lights either.

    That should give the patronising, virtue-signalling, overpaid quunts a bit of a shock!

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    It sounds like your proposing souped-up versions of these. I had something similar on my boat in case I ended up with flat batteries while at anchor. O
    Not sure how big they’d need to be to give you enough to drive an electric car.

  6. A diesel generator in the back of the truck is not that great as its output is feeble compared to the rate you can charge. Super capacitors being charged in slow time from that diesel generator are an option as this would allow the stranded car to be charged quickly. Better would be a big lithium battery that can partially charge the stranded vehicle fast. With the right electrics it should even be feasible to use the battery already in place in a modified electric vehicle. This will most likely be the way that firms like AA and RAC go given that if the electric car revolution happens, flat batterie call outs will be the bulk of their business.

  7. Super Capacitors are already available that can replace a normal car battery…

    And I can jump start my petrol “medium saloon” with a battery that fits in my pocket.

    Thinking about it, if you took the weight and space of Patrick’s BMW’s backup [generator + petrol engine + petrol], what range could you get out of a battery of similar measure? Perhaps EVs just need a separate battery “reserve tank” like cars and Spitfires used to have. One that requires plugging in via a trip to the boot so as to discourage regular use. Maybe a type of battery that is better for irregular high-boost than continuous delivery. Is this our “EV Capacitor”?

  8. I’ve been driving for just shy of 40 years and in all that time I have never even come close to running out of juice in my real car. When I started driving I did carry a few gallons in the boot just in case, but it wasn’t long before – a few years – before I realised that this was completely unnecessary.

    Petrol gauge, keep an eye on it. Drop below 2 gallons or so, light comes on. That’s 60 miles at least in any car I’ve ever had.

    Real cars need fuel. Milk floats need charge. For the former, ridiculously easy. For the latter, simply not possible to the degree compatible with the fantasy we are being sold (i.e. 30 odd million real cars replaced with 30 odd million milk floats).

    Of course, if you bought a milk float to “save the planet” and somebody with a diesel genset turns up to charge it, you should turn them away as a mattter of principle. This is academic of course because the chances of a flat battery are vanishingly small.

  9. Bloke Near Worcester

    ‘Patrick, California has already banned lawnmowers, chainsaws, woodchippers, trimmers, weed whackers and generators.’

    Happening over here (UK), although not directly. The 10% Ethanol petrol seems to be somewhat incompatible with 2 stroke garden implements – eg Stihl – whose answer is to sell you a synthetic petrol at £20 for 5 litres, thus making the electric versions more attractive to run.

    Not banning, but ‘nudge’

  10. The only time I’ve broken down was by running out of petrol on the sliproad from the motorway to the petrol station.
    Noting the fuel level I’d planned on topping up well within range, but a lapse of concentration and I went around the A1/M62/M18 triangle the wrong way around.

  11. Lead acid car batteries are generally 0.5kWh. Electric cars typically manage ~3 miles (5 km) on 1 kWh, so you’d need half a dozen to be sure of getting you to the next service area (allowing for some losses). Also you’d need something to step it up from 12V to ~300V for fast charging and an array of different connectors. (Ha! you didn’t think manufacturers would have standardised, did you?)

    Meanwhile the AA will (for members) tow you to the next services. Other recovery services are available.

  12. Why not fit the generator permanently in the car and use it to power the car directly thus avoiding the need for an expensive, heavy and polluting battery?

  13. “At some point it just becomes easier to get a diesel tow truck to tow you home and then plug up to recharge”

    Many EV’s Can’t be towed – indeed, I’ve seen it reported that some can’t even be dragged to the side of the road if they suddenly quit! This would almost certainly apply to any dual motor 4WD variants, and 2WD unless you can raise the driven end. Unlike a conventional car the motor is permanently engaged with the road wheels – there’s no “Neutral” option. Spinning it turns it in to a generator, and as it will be still connected to the electronics when they aren’t powered up this will likely cause serious damage, or destroy them completely. A “Motor Isolator” would solve this conundrum, but no manufacturer is going to introduce a potential failure point into very high power circuits.

  14. Hmm, no towing? Gonna mean another large expense. The majority of tow trucks now need to be replaced, right?

  15. It’s going to be interesting to see what the reliability of all these charging points are. And from the stories I’ve been hearing so far, not very. And that’s where your out of ‘leccy cars are going to come from. The drivers who’ve planned at picking up a charge at so & so. But that charge point was out, so they’ve had to go for an alternative. Which may be occupied, So a third…. And then you don’t have the range to reach any.
    Thinking about running out of petrol, it was something I was prone to when I was young & didn’t have a lot of money. Reluctant to tie up a big wad so the temptation was to put a few gallons in when it was necessary & always be running with a mostly empty tank. And then sometimes cut it a bit over fine. Trouble with electric is, it puts us all in that boat because they don’t have much range to start with. OK if you can overnight charge at home. But how many people will be able to do that?. When I was living in London, just finding somewhere to park vaguely nearby was hard enough;. Let alone trying to find a charge point.

  16. Re: tow truck replacement – depends on where you’re at. Here in the US basically all tow trucks are bed trucks. It’s rare to see a ‘hanger’.

    If for no other reason than the proliferation of rwd and 4wd vehicles and not risking transmission damage and/or not needing to spend time disconnecting the drive shaft.

  17. Over here the AA are trialling battery vans that have a DC charger connected to a bank of batteries in the van. Idea is to plug the car into the van to give it enough juice to get to the nearest available charger.

    Not that I’ve ever run out of electrons in either of our family EVs. The missus’ i3 has never been charged away from home – we only really use 10% of its range on even the most arduous of days. My Tesla is also used for road trips so does get charged at public stations. The only time I’ve taken it low was when I knew that, even though it said I didn’t have enough charge for the 4 hour drive home, I could do it – and I also knew there were charging stations regularly on the road so if I needed to I could do a quick top up. Ended up at 0km remaining per the range indicator about 1km away from home, and, because it was pretty much all downhill from there, 2km remaining when I got home!

    Oh, and towing is the same as any other 4×4 – lift it up at the front, stick some dolly wheels at the back and off you go.

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    “EVs present a particular challenge as many cannot be towed normally and ideally should be transported with all wheels off the ground which usually requires a flat-bed vehicle”

    If they can’t be towed, how are you going to get them on the flat bed?

    Running any battery to flat is not a good idea at all and given the expense of these it would be a really stupid thing to do.

    Do EVS cut out when the voltage drops to a certain level or they’ve drawn a measured amount of current ? If so there might be enough to drive them on to a flat bed as a controlled measure.

  19. “If they can’t be towed, how are you going to get them on the flat bed?”

    From what I’ve read, one way is to send a flat bed with a HIAB type crane, then use wheel slings and a supporting frame – the same way that council contractors remove an illegally parked vehicle. This must be an opportunity for the “Traveling Community” – most of them seem to have one of these trucks…

    Many garages now use individual jack-up wheel “dollies” to move expensive cars around their workshops – I can’t see why these couldn’t be employed to get the driven road wheels off the ground, and allow a normal tilting bed truck to winch a dead EV onboard?

  20. Got to hand it to the brilliance of 21st century engineers. During Katrina some price gouger was prosecuted for having 8 generators in the back of his truck. Came in from out of state, and wanted to sell them at a higher price than what he’d paid.
    Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if 16 or more generators per truck was possible. At that level of miniaturisation there’s no need to sell electrons from your capacitor, just sell them the generator with a couple of litres of fuel. Modern engineers: they don’t get nearly enough credit.

  21. EVs can be towed BTW. Some aren’t recommended (Tesla say not to tow except in emergencies and for short distances), others are designed for it (Rivian recommends towing in the case of flat battery as it will use regeneration to charge the battery up). Nissan Leafs will regen when being towed too.

    If you are towing long distances then flat bed or dollies are your best options – unless you are in a Rivian.

  22. EVs are a scam for the mugs.

    Globo scum want the CCP-style social credit tyranny to force greenfreak Marxist ruin on non-elite mankind for good. You will be on shank’s pony lads. Don’t worry about tow trucks.

  23. @Patrick
    Your i3 with the Range Extender option is one of only two volume-produced cars to do this, the other being the Chevy Volt (sold here as the Vauxhall Ampera). They’ve been largely killed off by being squeezed between cheaper/better batteries making longer-range ‘pure’ BEVs feasible, and plug-in hybrids that have smaller, cheaper battery packs.

    @Witchie
    Most EVs have a separate 12V system with a separate battery to operate lights, etc. Lighting up enough LEDs to be seen takes orders of magnitude less power than even kerb crawling.

    @Andy F
    A diesel generator in the back of the truck is not that great as its output is feeble compared to the rate you can charge.
    Depends on the generator, really. If you know you’re going to need 200kW to fast charge something for a few minutes, use a suitably-sized generator. An 8-litre i6/V8 with a light-pressure turbo would do that very efficiently, could almost certainly be done with a de-tuned artic or light marine engine.

  24. There is a huge problem with the whole idea, which is the distribution network. Yes, you can add six fast chargers at the motorway services, running off the three-phase, but at some point you hit the limit for the incoming power (which when installed was put in for the lights and heating etc., not charging up a dozen 350kW Hyundais simultaneously), at which point that site is maxed out. The problem gets worse as more sites come up – the whole infrastructure needs to be uprated, and no-one is budgeting in the £xxx billion for this. The most annoying thing is that we were finally getting the diesel cars decently clean – just before the manufacturers were told to stop all development due to the ICE ban.

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