Company Announces Diesel-Powered, Range Extending, Towable Trailer for Electric Cars

By · November 01, 2010

EMAV PRU diesel-powered range-extending towable trailer for electric cars

Here's an idea that's just been waiting to find an investor and reach the mass-market. Indiana-based start-up, Electric Motors and Vehicle Company (EMAV), announced today that they will begin selling a towable, diesel-powered, range-extending trailer for electric cars starting late next year. Although there are numerous examples of homebaked contraptions that do the same thing, I believe EMAV is the first one to try and commercialize the concept.

EMAVs PRU diesel-powered towable range extender for electric vehicles

EMAVs diesel-powered, towable range extender for electric vehicles is due to go on sale at some point late next year.

Officially called the Power Regeneration Unit (PRU), EMAV says their device is meant to extend the range of an EV by up to ten times on one tank of diesel while also providing extra cargo space for those long road trips.

"For electric cars to be truly viable for a mass consumer audience, we need to bridge the gap between low-range electric vehicles that can travel moderate distances to electric vehicles which can truly become the sole family vehicle," said Wil Cashen, founder and President, EMAV. "JD Power says that sales of electric vehicles will hit only two million in 2020–that is slow adoption, much due to the current range of these vehicles. Our goal is to move the marketplace beyond the first generation of electric vehicles to more powerful and rugged cars that also have endurance. This will evolve the electric car paradigm from a supplemental to a primary car for consumers."

The PRU is self-powered with an on-board 28 HP electric motor that uses sensors to match the speed of the towing vehicle. According to the company, this feature increases the efficiency of the whole package by lowering the power demand on the EV's motor. The PRU has a 6.6 gallon diesel tank and carries a set of lithium ion batteries with a 5 year/100,000 mile warranty. When cranked up to its full output, the PRU can supply 25 kw of power from its .75 liter, 4-cylinder diesel engine.

EMAV says the 1,220 pound trailer is being designed to work with any electric vehicle and will cost around $15,000. To me that seems like a steep price for the benefit. Perhaps the PRU would be better suited to something a rental company can loan you for that family vacation? I'd be willing to pay $50 a day for the utility when I needed it, but I don't really see the need for buying a $15,000 trailer that I'll use maybe three times a year. Now, if this were also a pop-up, ultralight tent trailer then there might be a more compelling reason to buy it outright.

To produce and bring the PRU to market, EMAV has expanded their existing partnership with Mopar which has already resulted in an off-road camper-trailer for Jeeps. Those camper-trailers reportedly have 300,000 miles of real-world road testing and the PRU is based on the same platform.

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