Nomadic Power Awarded €2M Grant For “MobileBattery” Project

JUN 24 2015 BY MARK KANE 23

Nomadic Power Range Extender Trailer

Nomadic Power Range Extender Trailer

About a year has passed since we presented Nomadic Power’s concept of range extender trailers for highway rental systems.

As it turns out, the company was recently awarded a €2 million grant ($2.27 million) from the European Commission for their “MobileBattery” project.

To be honest, we don’t believe in range extender trailers, because fast charging works (provided there’s a network of chargers). Moreover, range of electric cars will go up over time, while trailers don’t even have a standard to plug them and diminish the electric car’s range. If pure electric range is not enough, customers can just choose plug-in hybrid or take/rent another car occasionally, but some may still approve of this trailer idea.

“Under the headline „Europe’s next innovation leader“, the European Union looks for innovative ideas that have the potential of becoming successful businesses. Under the auspices of the EU Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, Nomadic Power has been selected from 785 strong competitors from all over Europe.”

“Range extension, fast charging options and functions for intelligent energy management of PV systems are incorporated in „Nomads“ – the mobile batteries from Nomadic Power. Nomad capacities range from 40 up to 85 kWhs. Nomads can collect the solar energy of the photovoltaic system during the week, and on the weekend the owner of an electric car, through the connected Nomad, has an extended range of over 500 kilometers.”

Nomadic Power Range Extender Trailer

Nomadic Power Range Extender Trailer

Dr. Manfred Baumgaertner, the CEO of Nomadic Power commented:

“Nomadic Power has developed a simple and efficient solution to extend the range of battery-powered electric vehicles. We see a strong future in electricy-powered mobility and an increasing use of renewable energy, photovoltaic power in particular. Our mobile batteries have great potential in these markets that recently got a significant shot in the arm by Tesla’s announcements.”

Yuliya Rogachevska, Nomadic Power’s director of PR and investor relations said:

“We are very happy and grateful for the support of the European Commission. For us, this is an additional great motivator and a milestone on our way of bringing a high-quality product to our environmentally-minded customers.”

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23 Comments on "Nomadic Power Awarded €2M Grant For “MobileBattery” Project"

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Ocean Railroader

What’s stuipid about this is there were several stories on here of people building range extenders for less then $5000 dollars. One of which was a old gas generator on the back of a i-miev.

What someone could do is find this range extender and copy it and make a few improvements to it to make a mass marketed one.

David Murray

Count me in to the group that sees no future in aftermarket range extenders. Now, if a manufacturer such as BMW offered this as an accessory to buy or rent from their dealership for occasional use.. and it actually integrated well with the electronics in the car in the same way a built-in range extender would, i could see limited viability for it. But even then, I would think anyone would would use such a thing would be likely to buy a PHEV in the first place.

John

I think an idea like this *could* work. It just needs tweaked.

Everyone loves the idea of the PowerWall.

Why not make a powerwall that you can bring with you when you want. One battery that serves two very different, yet useful purposes.

CBonville

+10! That is the type of dual-purposing that can help a product be useful enough and economically viable enough to gather buyers and market demand.

sven

I like this idea. 😀

Lensman

Good idea, John. Your idea makes sense.

Putting a battery pack into a tiny trailer to extend the range of a BEV does not. Li-ion batteries have a shelf life, and this type of trailer wouldn’t be used enough to justify buying a battery pack with sufficient capacity to extend the range enough to bother with.

If you want to extend the range by towing a trailer, then it should be a gas/diesel powered genset trailer, turning the BEV into a PHEV. Even the idea of a “pusher” trailer makes more sense than towing a second battery pack behind the car.

But I don’t see any of these ideas ever becoming commonplace. As Mark Kane said in the article, why rent a trailer to tow behind your BEV? It’s just as easy to rent a gasmobile or PHEV if you want to drive on a long-distance trip. Actually much easier, since rental car agencies are so commonplace.

Robert

Why tow at all?
Bracketry is available for attaching a couple of bikes on the back of a car, why not have it so a small generator is attached instead?
That’s the way I would go. As long as it is securely fixed so it can’t be lifted off and stolen, all you need is a simple cable to plug into the car.
It might need simple instructions of how to refill the fuel tank stuck in an easily readable position for the long time EV users though 🙂

Chip

Over on GreenCarCongress, this was described more clearly:
“Nomadic Power has received a €2-million (US$2.25-million) grant from the European Commission for their ‘MobileBattery’ project—a trailer-mounted battery pack that can serve the function of intelligent and safe back-up power for a home when stationary, and boost EV range when attached to the owner’s vehicle”.
So, a year ago Nomad was exploring trailer rental. This grant is for R&D on a dual-purpose trailer & home energy pack.
That sounds like a neat idea which will have a market.
While at home, people need battery storage for the home. When travelling on long trips, the same battery pack can extend their range.

notting

Once there was such an idea for the Smart ED. But you have to know the rules for cars with trailers like in Germany:
Max. speed 80km/h (in theory, trucks are driving with the same speed…). If the trailer and the car fulfill certain requirements, 100km/h are allowed but only on the Autobahn and “fast driving roads” (which are often some sort of “Autobahn light”). But on that roads, very often you aren’t allowed to overtake anybody if you got a trailer, at least like between 6am and 7pm…
And driving slower (on such roads usually 120-130km/h are allowed, if not even unlimited = 130km/h recommended speed) increases the range anyway…

notting

sven

One downside is that you will be charged extra tolls on pay highways and at bridges/tunnels because you have an extra axle or are towing a trailer.

Dan

I totally disagree with the commentary on this news. People are spending big money on all electric cars because they don’t want to burn petro, not even for range extending. But people who can’t or won’t pay for the extra range or the extra weight would like non-petro options.

85 kW-hrs of batteries currently weighs about 1,500 pounds and costs about $50,000. If the owner plans to utilize rented battery trailers he can buy a much less expensive, lighter electric vehicle and only rent the trailer when he needs the extra range. Maybe in Japan where fast chargers outnumber gas stations and where you can’t go farther than a couple hundred miles before you run into the sea and EV owner can depend on fast chargers but here in middle-America, where even AC Level 2 chargers are few and far between, electric vehicle owners desperately need occasional, non-petro extra range that we can rent.

mr. M

If you take the price of the tesla powerwall (350$/kWh) you will get a battery for 30k$. Nissan should be only a little bit more so your price of ~590$/kWh seems a little bit high.

Dan

Battery prices are dropping fast. Back in 2007 batteries were about $1,000 per kW-hr. When my car was built back in 2013 the prices was about $600 per kW-hr.
One of the reasons all the battery manufactures are building all these massive factories is to get the price down to $300 per kW-hr. I’ve read that by 2025 the price could be as low as $100 per kW-hr. But even by 2025 I think 85 kW-hrs of batteries is still going to weigh over 1,000 pounds.

Carsten

You could reuse all the “spent” EV-batteries for that purpose and hook it up like a powerwall, when not traveling long distance.

Dan

The Tesla Powerwall is $350 per kW-hr for “backup” applications, for “daily cycle” applications the Powerwall is $428 per kW-hr.

Lensman

Dan said:

“…electric vehicle owners desperately need occasional, non-petro extra range that we can rent.”

How is towing a battery pack on a trailer better than stopping to recharge along the way? If you’re towing a trailer you have to drive slower, and there’s the time and inconvenience of driving to the rental agency, going thru the rental process, and hooking up the trailer.

You’d probably get to your destination faster if you simply stopped once or twice along the way to recharge at a DC fast charge station. And if the destination is so far away that both your car’s and the trailer’s battery packs are exhausted, then is there any advantage at all to towing that rented trailer?

Doug

I would rent one of these today if it was available! Right now I can’t drive my Leaf from San Francisco to Los Angeles because of the lack of fast chargers. Either finish the West Coast Electric Highway or find other alternatives like Nomadic Power.

Loboc

I don’t see this happening in the US.

Trailers are a PITA as they need separate inspections and the maintenance is pretty costly per mile. Trailer wheel bearings need a lot of maintenance. Tires dry-rot before their time, etc. Then, ya gotta maintain the battery so it doesn’t brick. Integration to existing tail lights is not so straight-forward these days either.

When on the road, top speed and passing ability are severely limited. Probably would block the back-up camera.

Seems like a lot of work for little gain.

mr. M

Energy storge where it is needed. Cool.

If i take a vacation i dont need power at home, but on the street. If they can deliver a product price similar to normal storage cost, this would be a runner. I really hope this will sell good.

Just_Chris

I am really surprised at why people are so down on this, pulling off the freeway to spend 30 min charging is very different to swipe and go with a trailer. IMO This is really what better place should have been. it will work well in the EU where you might often need to drive just over the range of an ev, in those instances you might not want to stop for a break. DCFC is great but this
maybe useful too. I wouldn’t replace one with the other.

As for batteries in ev’s getting bigger that will increase the number of users but there will always be the need for the extra 20% every now and then. Even if you had a 300 mile battery you might want to drive 320 miles between charges once or twice a year. (Yes I know 20 isn’t 20% of 300)

As the EV segment grows I expect to see a whole heap of things be come viable that would make no sense at 1% market penetration.

Lensman

Just_Chris said:

“it will work well in the EU where you might often need to drive just over the range of an ev, in those instances you might not want to stop for a break.”

As “notting” already pointed out, driving slower on the highway would have the same effect of extending the range, and if you are towing a trailer, chances are you’ll have to drive slower anyway.

So, just drive slower without the trailer, and get the same benefit with no hassle and no cost.

MTN Ranger

Double or triple the i3 battery pack capacity and this trailer would not be needed.

Big Solar

and then even I would buy a BMW i3.