Range extenders are just a small piece of the magic puzzle.
The biggest problem with getting people to adopt electric vehicles is getting them to overcome their anxiety over range. Glickenhaus recently previewed a new hydrogen truck that was going to offer 1,000 miles of range, but that has since dropped to 600 miles and the truck is not intended for the road anyway. The GMC Hummer EV can do half that, as can the Ford F-150 Lightning. But bigger batteries are not necessarily the answer to more range. One company has come up with a system that adds a tiny, low vibration motor to electric vehicles to dramatically increase range, and now another has come up with a similar idea, only this firm has built an entirely new vehicle and promises that it can do as much as 4,000 miles.
The vehicle is called the Pioneer and it's built by a British outfit called Fering. Using a range extender configuration and long-range fuel tanks, the truck is targeted at those who wish to traverse remote and challenging terrain with minimal support. The truck is said to be no bigger than a Ford Transit van and is underpinned by an aluminum spaceframe chassis. So-called 'tough fabric', similar to what is used in hiking boots, takes the place of conventional body panels. This is meant to keep costs low and replacement simple. Weight is also kept to a minimum as a result, with Fering claiming a dry weight of just 3,306 pounds.
Under the skin, the Pioneer features one electric motor per axle and a 20 kWh battery. Power figures have not been provided but the truck can deploy up to 442 lb-ft of torque. Lithium Titanate Oxide cells make up the battery pack to further reduce weight, while an 800cc three-cylinder diesel engine acts as an onboard generator. In all-electric mode, just 50 miles of driving are possible, but Fering says that the car will offer 41.6 mpg, and that's pretty decent. Fering also says that the truck is designed for customers to tailor it to their personal needs. One example of this is that the long-range fuel tanks can be swapped for water tanks instead.
The company adds that the truck is easy to repair and upgrade, meaning it can theoretically run forever too. Testing is already underway with plans for series production in the UK set to take off sometime in the first half of next year.