Diesel Generator Charged Electric Cars May Be More Efficient Than Diesel Cars

Tesla Model S

Experiment in Australia helps address usual electric power concerns

With over 47,000 registrations in 2017 – a jump of 10,000 over the previous year – there’s no doubt electric powered cars and other vehicles (EVs) are in the ascendancy. Some countries are setting deadlines, such as the 2040 cutoff date mooted by the British government for when electric-only vehicles will be the only type permissible on the roads in the quest to reduce emissions.

From fuelling the vehicle to charging the battery

One concern regarding the growth of electric power is the consequent increase in fossil fuels required to provide extra electricity to meet the rising demand for power to charge EV batteries. It’s fair to say extra demands will likely be placed on fossil fuel-fired power generation facilities such as oil, gas and coal to power an increasing number of EVs.

This would be at least partly offset by the reduction in diesel and petrol vehicles on the roads. An interesting experiment conducted in Australia showed that it could take less fossil fuel to charge an EV’s battery than it does to power a fossil fuelled vehicle.

Portable power

This basic experiment conducted by the Tesla Western Australia Owners Club shows that portable charging with a diesel generator is certainly possible, and even makes EVs charged in this way more efficient than a diesel powered car. The experiment compared the amount of diesel used in fuelling a diesel generator to charge an EV’s battery compared to the amount used to power a diesel engined car over a fixed distance.

The experiment measured the amount of diesel used to fully charge the EV’s battery over the amount of diesel used by the fossil-fuelled car in the time it took for the EV’s battery to use up its charge. Overall the EV used around half a litre less of diesel than the diesel engined car consumed to keep its battery charged.

The generator used was typical of the type available from our generator hire company.

These findings may help address the concern over the implications of electric power in terms of fossil fuel used in charging EVs. With less fossil fuels used it’s fair to say ultimately electric power may prove more environmentally friendly overall.

Portable generators powering EVs

The idea of portable generators powering EVs may have some long term viability; in fact, it effectively happens now in the case of diesel electric hybrids. When the battery charge runs out the diesel engine takes over to power the vehicle and also recharge the battery so acting as a generator.

In view of this and the above Australian experiment, there is scope for portable generators to add at least a little extra charge to a fully electric powered vehicle; other experiments have been conducted with successful results.

Should this happen and people object to a diesel generator being hooked up to an EV, then it’s fair to likely that it’s still more efficient than using a diesel powered vehicle.


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