Video: Is This Fully Functional 0.045-Liter V8 the Ultimate Range Extender?


Believe it or not, this scratch-built 0.045-liter V8 engine is fully functional.

Bet You Could Fit This Almost Anywhere

Bet You Could Fit This Almost Anywhere

It’s the work of a man with a shed, a manual mill and a 95-year-old lathe.

Here’s the builder’s description:

“Scratch built 45cc V8 with Megasquirt MS2 fuel injection.made in the shed with an old manual Bridgeport mill and a 95 year old lathe. Single fuel injector made from Punto injector internals. Pressurised oil system, drilled crank, alloy block, cast iron wet liners, vernier cam pulleys, Walbro fuel pump, tungsten alloy flywheel, bead blasted and anodised finish, throttle position sensor on butterfly shaft, 24 tooth trigger wheel for megasquirt.”

Of course, this isn’t intended to be a range extender, but just seeing this tiny engine in action got us to thinking how or if something like this could work in a plug-in vehicle.  If we knew what the fuel consumption rate is and the engine’s power output, then we could theorize how well it would or wouldn’t work as a range extender.

What if something like this tiny engine ran all day to extend range?  Meaning, even if parked, a similarly tiny engine ran continuously in an effort to boost charge.  Would it work?  Would it be worth it to consume some unknown, but small amount of fuel if say a charger was nowhere to be found?



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19 Comments on "Video: Is This Fully Functional 0.045-Liter V8 the Ultimate Range Extender?"

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People still build working models of steam engines…

Small engines don’t have enough durability. It’s like a lawnmower engine.

I have a model engine for an electric vehicle on my desk. Its called a fan.

I too have pondered about using a REALLY small range extender that could produce maybe just a few kilowatts, like maybe 2 to 5. I would think such a device could be pretty small. It could recharge your main battery pack while you are sitting at work all day, for example. The benefit of such a device is that hopefully it would be inexpensive, but also very small and easy to find a place to fit it into the car. If it were to be running while the car was driving, I suppose it could probably extend the range maybe 5 miles of highway driving or 10 miles of city driving. So not terribly useful there. The main benefit would be if the car were parked for hours somewhere where there were no charging stations.

While fun to think about, I doubt I’ll ever see such a thing put into use as it is probably too impractical. I would think the BMW I3’s range extender is probably the smallest we’ll ever see.

Have to give the guy credit for talent—but ICE’s are just so laughable Rube Goldberg and so many moving parts.

It’s 50cc! We know the range extender on the i3 is small and we question whether it’ll sustain a charge on the road or when driven hard, but this here is like replacing that 600-something cc engine with a moped’s 50cc.
Still, I do like the idea of a tiny capacity V8 or V6. It’s very cool and someone (manufacturer) should try that!

Actually, I think 45cc is really 0.045 liters. 0.45 liters would be 450cc. Really tiny, look how big that hand is compared to the engine. Is that a tiny alternator. How cute. 😀

I think the alt and pwr steering are just for looks (nonfunctional as they say), but I like the miniature v belt. I wonder if the water pump really works? Maybe he has to shut it down once the water heats up seeing as I didn’t see any ultimate heat sinking.

You’re the only other one Jesse who caught the 45 cc / .045 litre problem. Congrats.

Therefore, these articlettes are educational in more ways than one.

unless the pwr steering pump is really the pressurized oil pump, but I think those are usually mounted internally.


I’d rather have an optional range extender battery pack that I could attach to my current BEV battery pack to take a day trip, and then remove for weight reasons when I was done.

I wish I could do much the same with my butt.

Removable ICE charger would be great!
But there is some issues like connecting gas tank (or it will be included with that charger?) outlet pipes , wiring etc. As an ice tuner i can notice what it will be hard to make removable outlet from the ice to atmosphere. It must connect very well, or passangers will breaf with smog (sorry for my english 8) )

Also, small engines is too noisy(remember chainsaw, lawnmower etc.) and they are less efficiency. But if it will be a small V8 – thats would be very COOL! 8)

I didn’t notice any cooling system. No radiator, water hoses, or air fins. I doubt the volume of oil and air going through it is enough to keep it cool for the long haul.

But very cool none the less.

A very impressive piece of art actually.

It could probably work as a range extender but apart from the BMW i3 classic crank and shaft system you have other dedicated generators which are more compact for a same power output.

There is the AVL Wankel generator that was envisioned to equip the Audi A1 e-tron.

Or the even better the DLR Direct Free Piston Generator:

You can also go in a totally different direction like with the Thermophotovoltaic generator:

Or a Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell:

The right system depend on your intentions, if it is cheap and fast available BMW did a good choice, if it is compact AVL is better, if you look for compact and super efficient DLR is the way to go.
On the other hand if you look for quiet the TPV could be better and even quieter without flame the DEFC.

The article didn’t mention the lathe manufacturer but the Bridgeport mill probably made all the difference. a 45cc (total) v-8 sounds like quite precise manufacturing tolerances are needed. A 1918 lathe would be perfectly fine, depending on who was using it. On the other hand, I once donated a 1 horse very nice floor standing drill press (brand new) to a local theatre group, and the shmucks drilled a hole thru the table in the first week.

How much you wanna bet this guy never drilled an errant hole through his drill press table?

Speaking of which…who exactly is the builder Eric?