See This Range-Extending Toyota-Tesla Trailer In Action
And learn a bit about Toyota’s 2nd-gen Rav4 EV
A while back we shared a project by Rich Benoit, he of the Rich Rebuilds YouTube channel, that took a Tesla battery pack and turned its shell into a trailer. While it looks great and is an awesome repurposing project, a lot of his viewers thought it was something of a wasted opportunity. That is, they thought that it should carry some amount of batteries, perhaps to, say, act as a range extender. Well, it seems Mr. Benoit has found someone who has done that very thing.
In the video above, Benoit takes a trip to visit James Klafehn who has built his own “Tesla trailer.” While it doesn’t use the aluminum shell of a Tesla Model S pack — it appears to be an off-the-shelf utility trailer — it does have a battery pack attached to its top which is full of Tesla cells. The twist here is that the pack is actually from a Toyota Rav4 EV, which the Japanese automaker stopped producing in 2014.
Now, not to be judgmental, but Klafehn’s trailer is not attractive. At all. However, it is useful. Holding about 41 kWh worth of energy it approximately doubles the 130 miles of range that he gets with his all-electric Toyota. Through an arrangement of connectors and electrical contactors, the battery in tow is in parallel with the one in the vehicle. This means he can pull power from them both at the same time. He can also recharge them at the same time and in the video here, you can see him doing just that using the Chademo DC fast charger connector in the nose of the Rav4 EV.
Overall it’s a pretty interesting project and the video does a great job of going over all the details of what was involved in making it work. We can only hope it inspires Benoit (or anybody, really) to meld the two different approaches together — use the Tesla battery pack shell with some amount of modules inside, and make it look aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.
If you’re curious about what the Toyota/Tesla battery pack looks like with its cover off, you’re in luck. We’ve embedded a video below showing just that. Enjoy!