Mitsubishi i-MiEV With Range Extender

MAY 22 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 24

When that Volkswagen range extender kicks in, this Mitsubishi i-MiEV most likely becomes the dirtiest electric car out there, but still we love the creativity that went into this project.

What we wonder is whether or not this range extender can charge to i-MiEV (via hack) on the go or if the tiny EV has to be parked to get juice from the VW engine.

Sadly, there are not details available on this one-of-a-kind project and we’ve been unable to contact the owner of this trick setup.

Update: The owner Jray3 has posted details at myimiev forums (thanks to InsideEVs community member Dan for the heads-up!):

So I got my pusher registered last week, no problem at all registering a homebuilt with a California title.

I removed all the ugly old wiring back to the original harness connectors and went forward from there, so the lights are now nice n bright. I cranked the throttle wide open and did a test commute today, starting at 60% SOC and finished up at 80% after 18 miles, pushing in third gear and lugging the dead engine through a small town and other semi-civilized areas. Being “lugged” with the ignition switch off lets enough fuel vapor into the muffler for impressive backfiring, even with a fuel shutoff solenoid (that I’m told disables only the main jet, not the idle jet).
(Yes that would probably make mine the most-polluting hybrid of our modern era!)

Otherwise, not a hint of overheating or other issues with the engine. Lugging it without firing certainly cools it down in a hurry! I’m also surprised by how little drag is added by lugging the engine. Once it starts spinning, it just smooths out the trailer ride at the cost of a ‘few’ more amps. The engine in fourth spins smoothly down to 8 mph before bucking. In third, it’s down to 1 or 2 mph- literally just complains in the last second of stopping. The only time it feels like a conventional bouncy trailer is when pulling it in neutral with the engine stopped.

In third gear the engine has plenty of power to maintain speed on the level while also putting max regen into the car around 35-45 mph. Another test will be to time a pusher-powered fast charge from 20% to 80%!

I’ve also built a control box for the clutch and throttle actuator, and rather than bothering with limit switches, I’ve installed an ammeter on the box, thinking to watch for the amps to climb as the actuator motors stall at each limit of travel. Hoping to get that finished up this evening in time for tomorrow night’s unveiling at the Seattle EV Assoc. meeting. That’ll be the first ‘long trip’ and my first attempt to track fuel economy.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV With Range Extender

Mitsubishi i-MiEV With Range Extender

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Images via Matt Stevens

Categories: Mitsubishi

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24 Comments on "Mitsubishi i-MiEV With Range Extender"

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ja
Guest
ja

This Guy Must Be accomplished Rocket Scientist With a Great Sense of Humor…

kdawg
Guest

I think we know who drives it, based on the plate.

David Murray
Guest
David Murray

Haha.. I noticed that too. I wonder if this i-Miev is notorious for running a 3-wheeled car off the road?

offib
Guest
offib

Hehe, ha ha ha! Oh, you deserve a whack for that.

offib
Guest
offib

I deserve a good whack for not noticing the plate.

Dave K.
Guest
Dave K.

It’s a pusher trailer, not a charger.
The VW engine pushes the IMiev down the highway.

Martin
Guest

Sure thing

iwatson
Guest
iwatson

Not so fast… Yes you’re right it does push Mr. Bean down the road, but while doing so the owner selects the most regen braking mode so that while the regen braking is trying to stop the car and recovering energy being stored in the battery the trailer is trying to push him down the road. Speed is being modulated with a feather touch on the go pedal and by keeping a close eye on the regen(charge) meter. So yes, the trailer does push the car down the road but it also charges the battery at the same time!

dan
Guest
dan
The owner of that vehicle posted an interesting thread with more links pointing to similar vehicles here: http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=709 While he also posted more details about this specific setup here: http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1255&start=120 — QUOTE — So I got my pusher registered last week, no problem at all registering a homebuilt with a California title. I removed all the ugly old wiring back to the original harness connectors and went forward from there, so the lights are now nice n bright. I cranked the throttle wide open and did a test commute today, starting at 60% SOC and finished up at 80% after 18 miles, pushing in third gear and lugging the dead engine through a small town and other semi-civilized areas. Being “lugged” with the ignition switch off lets enough fuel vapor into the muffler for impressive backfiring, even with a fuel shutoff solenoid (that I’m told disables only the main jet, not the idle jet). (Yes that would probably make mine the most-polluting hybrid of our modern era!) Otherwise, not a hint of overheating or other issues with the engine. Lugging it without firing certainly cools it down in a hurry! I’m also surprised by how little drag is added by… Read more »
Anderlan
Guest
Anderlan

OMG He has power to the beetle-trailer wheels from the beetle engine. That’s f***ing metal. Also kind of mental.

Roy LeMeur
Guest

Inside information. Beetle pusher trailer originally designed and built by J. B. Straubel.

Currently owned by a member of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA)

RobertC
Guest
RobertC

Here’s another version of the VW pusher trailer. http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1255&p=19994#p19994

Anderlan
Guest
Anderlan

I’d go the 5kw-generator-in-the-trunk-with-exhaust-port-leading-outside-the-cabin route myself.

James
Guest
James

Rolling bomb. Better off with a used Volt.

finecadmin
Guest

Which is probably part of the reason the tongue is so long.

Taser54
Guest
Taser54

And this wins the belt and suspenders award.

kdawg
Guest

Hopefully not a Darwin Award.

Speculawyer
Guest
Speculawyer

LOL! That is hilarious. Hat’s off to that guy for that great hack! Love that little VW butt. Does the trailer bar need to be so long though?

ggpa
Guest
ggpa

I assume the longer bar was picked for safety to protect the EV, because it reduces stability and economy

ggpa
Guest
ggpa

There is something cool about pushing and charging an EV at the same time.

I wonder if somebody has tried the same thing, except using a motorcycle without the front wheel?

Jay Donnaway
Guest

Yep, I’ve been outed, my secret identity is no more, guess it’s been coming for a long time. And indeed JA is correct, the original owner is a rocket scientist, err, the Chief Technical Officer for TESLA Motors; JB Straubel. I am the conservator of this relic for the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation until it goes on permanent exhibit. This pusher was built in 1996, but featured in Popular Mechanics in May 2007. It works as well today as it ever did, and the power level is near perfectly matched to the iMiEV mass. More details to come in a full posting soon..

Roy LeMeur
Guest

I figured you would show up here JayRay! 🙂

Jay Donnaway
Guest

Pop Mech “Driving Our Future” feature, May 2007
The pusher is pictured on page 70 in the article on JB Straubel and TESLA.

http://www.popsci.com/archive-viewer?id=y9bRa2jm0sYC&pg=47&query=Popular%20Science%20Straubel%20article

wavelet
Guest
wavelet

Fascinating!
Thumbs-up!