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Tesla with range extender: 2964 kilometers without supercharger

Everyone has probably had the idea: Why not just build a diesel or petrol generator in the electric car and avoid the charging breaks? A Youtuber tried out whether this is really a good idea and how well it works.

No key figure is as interesting for an e-car as the range. The range of his regular 345 kW Tesla Model S P85D of around 400 kilometers was probably no longer sufficient for the Youtuber Wraped Perception. So he did what many - fortunately - only discuss at the regulars' table: He gave the Stromer a range extender in the form of a classic generator and drove a total of 2,964 kilometers without connecting the Tesla to the charging station.

A 10 kW single-cylinder with 400 cc was used, which he placed in the trunk of the Model S. He got himself a new tailgate especially for this, replacing the rear window with a checker plate with a large hole. He also screwed a massive substructure into the trunk, with which he placed the generator in the fresh air. The YouTube hobbyist mounted the gas tank in the front of the frunk of the electric car.

The unit is too weak

Anyone who is a little familiar with the topic of e-car consumption will - if not already done so - shake their heads. Depending on how you drive, the Stromer needs between 15 and 20 kWh/100 kilometers. However, the generator supplies only 10 kWh per hour. In the best case, the top speed is only 70 km/h without the Tesla’s battery level noticeably dwindling.

The Model S is still powered by its electric motors, which are powered by the battery. However, it is now simultaneously charged by the built-in generator while driving. How exactly this works is unfortunately not mentioned. For safety reasons, electric cars cannot actually be charged while they are driving.

1600 miles without a charging cable

Due to this circumstance - and the insane suggestion of the inventor not to pick up a charging cable - he left the generator running for almost 7 days at a time for a 1,600-mile (2,575-kilometer) road trip. During the drive, during pee breaks, and even at night when he checked into the hotel and went to bed. However, since his driving style did not always comply with the technical limit of the generator, he also had to stop on the way to let the generator recharge the battery while stationary so that he could continue driving. It hardly needs to be mentioned at this point that none of this has much to do with efficiency. Also, the maker of Wraped Perception can be seen wearing hearing protection throughout the video because the generator is so terribly loud. According to the cell phone app measurement in the video: 70 dB. Inside the car. Probably a lot louder outside, as you can hear again and again in the video.Because hardly any moderation of the Youtubers does not sound like screams when the single cylinder in the background is working under full load as always.

Efficiency? Underground!

But it might still be interesting how inefficient this form of mobility actually is. So let's calculate. Since a liter of petrol has an energy content of around 8.7 kWh and the generator only generates around 1.4 kWh per liter of petrol according to the information in the video, it has an efficiency of around 16 percent. For comparison: Modern petrol and diesel vehicles, including all friction losses, resistance, etc., achieve up to 30 percent. Electric cars up to 90 percent - depending on how the energy is produced. Last but not least, the experiment of the Tesla hobbyist underpins the effect of energy production.

7 liters of petrol per hour

Under full load, the 400 cm³ generator uses arithmetically to deliver its 10 kW, i.e. around 7 liters per hour. The YouTuber does not reveal the total number of liters of gasoline he consumed. Since the tank in the frunk, like the battery in the floor of the car, has a limited capacity, the video shows several refueling stops with the gas station attendants looking puzzled. The amount of fuel can be calculated at least roughly:

If you calculate with a benevolent consumption calculation and assume that the average speed was only 50 miles per hour, i.e. around 80 km/h, the Model S consumed around 225 according to the information in the video wh/mile During its 1,600-mile road trip, it consumed around 360 kWh of energy and, due to the inefficiency of the generator, around 252 liters of petrol and emitted almost 600 kilograms of CO₂. At least.

At least 9.8 liters per 100 km

In total, with all test drives, the distance probably amounted to 1,842 miles, i.e. 2,964 kilometers. In the liters of petrol required for the generator, this corresponds to at least 290 liters and 688 kilograms of CO₂. On average, the Tesla consumed around 9.8 liters per 100 kilometers - mind you at an average speed of just 70 km/h. If, as often seen in the video, it drives 70 miles per hour, i.e. around 113 km/h, it consumes around 18.6 kW/100 km of electricity from the generator and thus requires 13.1 liters per 100 km. Not even a Porsche GT3 consumes that much. In the auto motor und sport test, it had an average consumption of 12.9 liters – albeit super plus.

From an environmental perspective, the campaign wasn't too successful. But also from the point of view of the Youtubers there is still room for improvement. At the end of the video he explains that he will try again. Next time with a more powerful generator so that he no longer has to wait for the generator to take a break from charging. He probably didn't consider that he would probably have to go to the gas station much more often.


There are ideas that sound great and they are.And there are ideas that sound different. Basically, the project is an interesting feasibility study – a kind of self-made hybrid. But the hybrid drive was invented long ago and, even in its most uneconomical configuration, works better and above all more efficiently than the Tesla with a 0.4-liter roaring petrol engine.


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