How to extend the range of battery electric vehicles? A start-up company in Stuttgart, Germany has developed an answer in the form of the ‘ebuggy,’ a trailer carrying a lithium-ion battery designed to be towed behind an EV.
The ebuggy is viewed as an ‘on-demand’ solution since an EV would drive on urban trips without the trailer most of the time. Then, for longer trips, the EV would be driven to a service station where the ebuggy would be hooked up to provide extended range. It would be returned to the same service station or dropped off at another station at the destination.
The ebuggy can be towed at speeds up to 62 mph (100 km/hr) and has a four-hour battery capacity, which provides a range extension of about 240 miles for most electric cars. Add the standard range of the EV itself and trips of 300 miles on electricity alone are quite possible.
Envisioning franchised stations that could be co-located with gas stations, garages, or at highway rest stops, ebuggy GMBH says its system requires a much smaller initial investment compared to other range extension ideas like battery exchange stations. Battery recharging can be done using the same equipment used to recharge batteries in EVs. When an electric car owner signs up for ebuggy service, the user gets a kit for upgrading their car to the ebuggy system. This includes a tow hitch, power socket, and in-car display.