Ingineer wrote:We have experimented with this, and it is definitely possible to add a range extension pack, or even a (sacrilege) ICE generator/pusher trailer for really long hauls.
Question is, what are you willing to pay for it? Adding Lithium is VERY expensive! A decent 10kW pack would cost over $10k installed.
A trailer initially sounds silly, but it would be easy for "temporary" rentals to LEAF owners who don't have other cars, or are looking to transport their car long distances, such as moving from summer home to winter home and vice-versa twice a year. (Vice-LEAFa!)
We will build one if there is enough interest.
I also are an ingineer (BS EE, MS System Eng.), but I been doing software for the past 40 years. I wondered if anyone else had though of the generator trailer. It sounds like a very good idea to me. We only make 4-8 trips over 50 miles each year and we presently have a 14-year old second car for that. However, for some of them we'd happily rent a generator trailer from our Nissan dealer. The main issue is price. It should be a lot less expensive than renting a car.
The main design issues I can think of are making the trailer safe and adding another power connection to the Leaf. The trailer would not provide as much impact resistance for it's gas tank as a regular car, so that tank will need extra protection. Adding a input power port might be a warranty issue. Adding some engine instrumentation for the driver might also be an issue, but a short-range radio link might work well.
Here are my requirements:
1. Range: 200 miles between refueling. 300 preferred
2. Fuel: Regular gas. Diesel would be acceptable. Premium is not acceptable.
3. Speed with trailer: 65 mph on the 80% steepest up-hill grades with full fuel, 2 people and 100 lbs of baggage. 75 mph preferred and 90% of all grades also preferred.
4. Trailer should be low enough that rear mirror can see traffic.