Generating Content

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

A heretofore unknown publication dubbed Gadget Review published a video outlining “How to Charge BMW’s i3 Electric Car in a Desert (or Any Where)” using a Honda generator. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that this would be a great concept for “shareable” content (including the part where the host attempts to run the generator inside the vehicle). The actual idea didn’t yield a ton of juice for the i3’s battery, but the idea of using generators to assist EV charging isn’t entirely unknown.

Long before the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s EV experimented were far cruder, and involved, you guessed it, Honda generators rigged to battery packs as an ersatz range extender. According to a former GM engineer and friend of TTAC, the generator would kick in as the batteries depleted themselves, allowing the prototype vehicle (a Geo Storm) to recharge the batteries and make its way home. “Some of those guys ended up working on the EV1 and are still at GM,” he told us. “I bet that’s where the inspiration for the Volt came from.”

This begs the question – why not just get the i3’s optional from the get-go, and avoid this problem altogether?

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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4 of 26 comments
  • Stumpaster Stumpaster on Sep 16, 2014

    I wonder if the nauseating Gadget Dork was made aware that in half hour you can bicycle 4 miles that he gained in charge? Slowly.

  • Nickoo Nickoo on Sep 16, 2014

    Yes. Just but the range extender version. It is 3kw from the Honda vs 24 kW from the i3. Price per kW on the i3 generator is a steal. I can't wait to see the next gen volt, supposedly it will have an Atkinson cycle 3 cylinder that's purpose built for regeneration, which should greatly increase overall car energy efficiency. I might make my first ever new car purchase a volt if the next generation is as good as rumors are claiming.

  • Mcs Mcs on Sep 16, 2014

    My solution for charging in locations where I can't readily find a charger is to get a portable L2 charging station that can plug into 240 volt RV outlets. This means I could take the EV on camping trips away from EV charging stations and still pick up a level 2 charge at the campground.

  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Sep 16, 2014

    Wow, what a stupid video. Is this guy trying to mimic a Top Gear episode? Am I supposed to take any of his other Gadget Reviews seriously after this?