Electric cars are great for shorter trips, but range anxiety can take its toll as you get farther from your home. To calm some of that anxiety and make electric cars more usable, manufacturers developed electric cars with range extenders. While not quite as simple as throwing a generator into the trunk, these small powerplants are able to recharge the car’s batteries on the go, eliminating the need for time consuming stops at recharging stations. As we’ll see, the range extender can be a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine, a turbine, or even a fuel cell. Now, Autobytel presents a roundup of 10 electric cars with range extenders (some historic, some current, some concepts):
The Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, using its fuel-cell stack to convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water. Essentially, the Mirai is an electric vehicle, with a 151-horsepower electric motor powered by a small 1.6-kWh battery. Instead of using a gasoline-powered range extender, the Mirai uses a fuel-cell system that can generate a maximum of 153 horsepower, which is used to run the electric motor and recharge the batteries. Top speed is 111 mph, the sprint to 60 mph takes a reasonable 9 seconds, and total cruising range (with the 32-gallon tank) is 312 miles. When you get low on hydrogen, a refill is fairly simple and takes around five minutes, assuming there’s a station near you, of course.