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Development of the Range Extender for a 48V Electric Vehicle

The article deals with the concept, development and results of preliminary tests of a range extender for an electric light commercial vehicle Melex with a 48V electrical system. The purpose of the project is to build a prototype of the range extender powered by an internal combustion engine that will increase the range of the vehicle with electric drive, and at the same time will be characterized by a high efficiency and low exhaust emissions. The developed range extender is a combination of a 163cc single-cylinder combustion engine with a generator joined through a ribbed belt transmission. The 3-phase generator from a heavy-duty vehicle was used. In order to match the output voltage of the generator to the system voltage of the electric vehicle, an external adjustable regulator and a rectifier bridge with an increased operating voltage were used. The range extender was attached to a body of the electric vehicle by means of a welded frame made of thin-walled steel profiles. Initial tests of the developed range extender showed its proper interaction with both the lead-acid battery of the vehicle as well as with the nickel-metal hydride battery (NiMH) adapted to 48V voltage from a hybrid electric vehicle. A maximum output power exceeding 2 kW was obtained. Maximum value of the overall efficiency of the range extender reaches up to 18.8%, which is a high value considering the small size of the used engine and the type of generator. The directions for further development of the range extender were also revealed in this paper.
Topic: Alternative sources of power
Author: Marcin Noga
Co-authors: Paweł Gorczyca