ME2 L-Loop Self-Charges Your EV. No, Really

4 days ago by Sebastian Blanco 32

ME2 L-Loop in a Ford Focus Electric at The Battery Show 2017.

What’s an extra bank of batteries among friends?

ME2 L-Loop in a Ford Focus Electric at The Battery Show 2017.There have been any number of creative ways to extend the range of an electric vehicle, from little trailers that either burn gasoline or have an extra battery pack so that you can charge up even when you’re nowhere near an electric outlet. At The Battery Show in Novi this week, James Dierickx is showing off yet another option: stuffing your trunk full of lead acid batteries that can add 50 or 60 miles or range to his 2013 Ford Focus Electric. If you’re wondering why you would want to do this, the answer lies in Iowa and the Persian Gulf.

Dierickx lives in Iowa, where he told InsideEVs that public charging stations are few and far between. He is also an Army veteran and served in the first Gulf War. That’s where, while breathing in the smoke from burning oil fields, his vocal chords were damaged. It’s also where he says he got his PTSD, which was triggered when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 happened and he decided he had to do something.

He soon settled on electric vehicles as the way to make a difference, and said today that, “Every electric car we get out there, it’s one less barrel of oil we have to import.” His mantra is easy to remember. “Defund oil, defund terrorism,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. I want to do everything I can to make electric vehicles more reliable and more useful.”

Which brings us to the ME2 L-Loop. Dierickx’s idea is that since his Focus Electric gets him around 60 miles on a full charge (we should note the EPA rates the Focus EV at 76 miles), he built a bank of batteries that fit in the trunk and can be used to charge up the car’s built-in lithium-ion battery when it’s parked.

So, he drives his 60 miles, can’t find a charging station, but then simply plugs the back of the car into the front and in two to three hours, he has a full battery again. No outlet required. Of course, he does have to remember to charge up both packs when he has the opportunity, but for his specific situation, this is an elegant solution. Dierickx said that he wants to make a pack that fits into a first-gen Nissan Leaf, too, so that drivers of that aging vehicle will be able to get more use out of their car. He said expects his pack will cost between $4,800 and $5,200 for customers to buy for their EVs.

ME2 L-Loop in a Ford Focus Electric at The Battery Show 2017.

That’s not all that Dierickx wants to do, though. He said he is planning on figuring out how to make dynamic charging work in the near future. With this option, when the rear pack senses that the lithium ion batteries are about out of juice, it’ll start charging the main battery.  Dierickx said this will be, “a game-changer for older electric vehicles.”

Dierickx is also talking about an extendable wheel that will come down from the rear of the car and harvest kinetic energy from the car’s forward momentum and put it in the lead acid pack, but details are scarce right now, so we’ll leave that idea alone (without comment) for now.

Source: Me2EV

32 responses to "ME2 L-Loop Self-Charges Your EV. No, Really"

  1. Brian says:

    I love the cable connecting the rear bumper to the charge port.

    This is an innovative solution to (hopefully) a short-term problem. New EVs should have ever increasing range. As the EVs hit the roads, more infrastructure will be built. Iowa will certainly be slower than California, but it will come. In the mean time, good on him for making do with what he has!

    “Defund oil, defund terrorism”
    I like it. He should sell bumper stickers.

  2. L'amata says:

    These Einstiens Should Stop Thinking ..L M A O

  3. John in AA says:

    Last paragraph was a joke, right?

    … right?

    1. Brandon says:

      Yeah, either this James Dierickx is ignorant (which I doubt it) or Sabastian is trying to pull our leg!!!

  4. Bacardi says:

    Not the worst idea assuming it’s a couple hundred bucks, but we know it’ll be a minimum of $1000, probably closer to $5000?

    1. John says:

      Probably pretty cheap. At it’s core, it’s a battery box, some deep cycle batteries, a decent inverter and some wiring. A half dozen deep cycle batteries would provide about 7kWh, at a cost of around $700…an inverter and L2 EVSE will probably cost another $500.

      I’d be more worried about the weight than anything. Talk about JUNK IN THE TRUNK!

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I think your numbers are off. Deep cycle lead-acid batteries are typically cycled only 50% DoD, so even if the six batteries will hold 7 kWh, the usable kWh would only be 3.5 kWh.

        Lead-acid batteries are bulky and heavy. They also wear out when cycled far faster than li-ion batteries. That’s why they are no longer used as traction batteries in production PEVs. To me, this jerry-rigged auxiliary pack merely illustrates why nobody uses them any more.

    2. Sebastian Blanco says:

      Ah, yes. I forget this detail. He said the Me2EV would cost around $5k. I’ve added that info to the post. Thanks for the reminder (and good guess!).

      1. SJC says:

        12 kWh should cost about $6,000, there is NO way 7 kWh would cost $700.

      2. Bacardi says:

        Thanks for the update! Too pricey, hope they can find a way to get the price down…

  5. Mark.ca says:

    I that case he might just tow a small trailer with a gas generator on it….or just get a long range ev.

  6. mab says:

    The energy consumed by dragging a wheel behind the car is greater than the energy generated. Look up “perpetual motion machines”

    1. Nemo says:

      Well yes, but another way to look at it is, it’s a way to charge the backup battery from the main battery (since they’re not connected).

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Charge up the lead-acid batteries by using the forward motion of the car to spin an external wheel… which would be a very inefficient way of charging them, not to mention wearing out the rather expensive li-ion battery pack with unnecessary cycling.

        Why would you want to do that? You can charge the lead-acid batteries any place there’s a 120v outlet.

  7. DJ says:

    Seems like an expensive and heavy solution to a pretty simple problem. Maybe his $ would have been better spent on getting an EV with more range?

    :lightbulb:

  8. protomech says:

    “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

    This system will not age well.

    The $4000-5000 would be better spent on trading up to a newer, longer-range EV or on renting a vehicle with longer range.

  9. SparkEV says:

    While the principle is sound, implementation leaves much to be desired. If anything, LiIon would’ve been so much better due to lighter weight (less wear on road which is made of oil).

  10. Cavaron says:

    He should wire it to the recuperation power input. I’ve seen solutions like that for VW e-up and the i-MiEV to input +4kw while driving. With chinese LiFePos instead of lead-acid of course.

  11. SJC says:

    This IS a good idea, 12 kWh of lithium ion batteries driving a 48 vdc to 220 vac inverter would do. The marketing question IS would enough people pay for this to make it profitable?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      No, it’s a really bad idea. What he’s done is to add an auxiliary battery to his BEV, except that he used lead-acid batteries for the auxiliary pack; meaning the auxiliary pack is much heavier per kWh, and will wear out much faster than the main pack.

      I wonder how much energy per mile he wastes by hauling all that extra weight around?

      1. SJC says:

        The idea is good the execution is not. Using lithium ion would be better, lighter, smaller with more range.

  12. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “Dierickx is also talking about an extendable wheel that will come down from the rear of the car and harvest kinetic energy from the car’s forward momentum and put it in the lead acid pack…”

    Wheee! Perpetual motion! Why, I’m sure that will work. /snark

    1. SparkEV says:

      I think he means to use regen to charge the lead acid batteries since main regen is not tied to lead acid. That’s actually a good idea if lead acid is seldom used and regen may be enough to keep it charged.

      1. SparkEV says:

        To be clear, by regen, I mean regen on braking. I think this is why the wheel has to extendable. If for perpetual motion nonsense, there’d be no need to extend the wheel.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          The reason why the auxiliary wheel has to be extendable, Sparky, is because you don’t want it deployed and slowing the car all the time; only when you want to use that Rube Goldberg kludge to charge the lead-acid battery pack.

          You seem to think this is built to only engage when the car is actually braking? I can’t imagine anything as jerry-rigged as this is, would be that sophisticated. If someone had that level of engineering and mechanical expertise, he’d certainly figure out a far more efficient and less awkward way to charge the L-A battery pack!

          1. SparkEV says:

            Having the brake light to trigger the regen wheel to extend is not that complicated.

            I agree the setup seems kludgey, but the idea isn’t bad considering what he has to work with. Other alternative is carrying around a gas generator, but he doesn’t want to use oil.

  13. jim stack says:

    Lead acid batteries are toxic, heavy and have a short life. So that is a very poor idea.

    Trade it for a Bolt and he’s ahead. Or get a Tesla model 3 with Super Charging and you can go anyplace.

    1. Bacardi says:

      The idea is that you can buy an used and old $5000ish sub 100 mile EV and add this…However, this battery pack is $5K so it’s nearly the same price as the vehicle…Even so, $10K is much cheaper than $35Kish (or $25K if you qualify for all the tax credits, not everyone does)…However at $5K for this it’s probably DOA…

      1. Brandon says:

        You know what’s better than this?

        Two things:
        As was already mentioned, 1) buy a longer range EV and sell the old one, or, 2) since someone will have the car unless it (unlikely) gets junked, apply for out of warranty assistance. This would pertain only to the Nissan LEAF as far as I know, because it’s just the LEAF that it’s possible to lose around 4-5% battery capacity per year, whereas other EVs are just losing 1-2% a year.

        Out of warranty assistance will pay for a good portion of the $5,500 cost to replace a Nissan LEAF battery… half or more, so could be just $2,000 to $3,000 out of pocket for a replacement. I’ve applied for this, and will likely decide to do it next summer when my 2011 LEAF loses it’s 4th bar and is actually out of warranty and eligible to get assistance. I’ll likely do that instead of selling my LEAF.

  14. Ben says:

    Good for the man in trying and like the concept. He’s actively involved taking a positive action to make a difference. It is surely no worse than all of the amateur pioneers who built and still build converted eletric cars in their garage. That is what got us to where we are today.

  15. scoops says:

    If this was Li-ion and connected to some in-wheel motors on the back wheels… Could actually be pretty awesome.

    The motors could provide assistance either by reading pedal position from ODBII (easy) or detecting acceleration (a bit harder)

    When the brake lights come on the in-wheel motors could switch to regen and charge up the external pack with the benefit of increased braking strength before having to dip into friction brakes.

  16. Chad says:

    Genious ! Fit a bigger battery !
    Not so smart to fit the heaviest, largest, least efficient, and likely most expensive long term…battery type !
    I think he suffered more than just PTSD in the Middle East. !

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