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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tesla-Class Range Extender for the Nissan Leaf & BMW i3

If you drive a Nissan Leaf, a BMW i3, or any one of the 100 miles or less range EVs, then you might occasionally have, shall we say, range envy when you look at a vehicle such as the Tesla Model S.

A German company called Nomadic Power is hoping that they can help you alleviate this envy with a Tesla sized battery on wheels. It's a pack that you can hook up and take with you when you want more range.

They call it the Nomad and they tout it as an on-demand range extender.

A total of 85kWh worth of batteries are nestled into the aerodynamic egg-shaped trailer. They claim that, along with your car's original batteries, you can have 300 miles of range.

300 miles range will certainly help on long trips, however, if things go as this company would like, you'll be able to drive even farther. They would like to establish a network of roadside depots where you could pull in with a depleted trailer and drive off with a fresh fully charged one in just a couple of minutes.

Disconnecting a trailer and hooking up a new one is certainly simpler to design than a system to swap battery packs that are built into the car.

Nomadic Power sees the potential for many applications for the Nomad. The simplest is you buy one and use it when you need it. Group ownership is also a possibility; local EV clubs could buy one and share it among the members. Rental is a nice option if it is something that you would only occasionally need. Rental has the additional advantage that you have no attachment to a particular pack and you can swap it or drop it off at any location in your rental network.

Hello U-Haul company, are you reading this? This could be just what you need to expand your business into the 21st century.

Roadside assistance is another option. If AAA could quickly snap this on and get you back on the road, that would be much better than towing the car or waiting for a roadside charge. If your car is not equipped to take energy from a trailer, these units have Level 2, CCS, and CHAdeMO charging available. So you can pull over and quickly give your ride a few miles boost to make it to your next stop. 

The portable battery can also serve as mobile power source for your off-grid needs. So next time you are camping or attending a tailgate party, this could give you more than enough energy to keep the lights on or the party going.

They are planning to start shipments in 2016 and they have opened a US office in California.
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