Hybrid drive caravan?

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T1 Terry
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Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by T1 Terry » Sat, 02 Mar 2019, 14:05

The was a link to this article on another forum I frequent and it has me thinking, is it legal and if it is, could a range extender trailer be built that could drive itself while extending the range of the tow vehicle?
https://www.caravancampingsales.com.au/ ... sc.8126025

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brendon_m
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Re: Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by brendon_m » Sat, 02 Mar 2019, 20:19

I saw this a few months back, similar idea.
https://newatlas.com/dethleffs-electric ... van/56056/
Legality aside it's a very good idea.

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Re: Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by T1 Terry » Mon, 04 Mar 2019, 12:01

I'd much prefer a hybrid drive motorhome towing an electric vehicle or hybrid that I could control from the drivers seat. It would give the advantage of sharing the drive and increasing the regen braking. With the towed vehicle driving itself up the hills and taking care of its own weight with regen braking on the down hills, the vehicle could be a much larger unit than the traditional towed vehicle has been to date. A motorhome is always going to be heavier than the towed vehicle so the issues of pushing aren't really a problem the way they would be with a caravan that weighs about as much as the vehicle towing it.

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francisco.shi
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Re: Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by francisco.shi » Tue, 05 Mar 2019, 12:47

I thought of this idea a few months ago and was told ADR would not pass it so I didn't think further.
I wanted to put a much bigger battery. More like 100kwh and 6kw of solar panels.
The idea was you can go full electric. The caravan would feed the electric car and its own motors. When you run out of battery on both you stop extend the panels and recharge. The caravan can stay behind charging the batteries while you go and explore. My idea was to use the motors on the caravan to help the towing vehicle when tackling difficult off-road tracks where the towing car may not have enough grip to pull the caravan over the terrain.
Once you get back home the caravan can supply your home's power instead of sitting idle doing nothing.

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Re: Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by T1 Terry » Tue, 05 Mar 2019, 14:02

Yes, as far as I understand it the caravan would become a driverless vehicle and at the moment that isn't legal, the vehicle may be able to drive without the driver input but there must be a licenced driver behind the controls to take over if things went pear shaped. Adding the lack of actual steering capability and being connected to another vehicle just adds more confusion.
If the towed vehicle is actually registered as an electric or hybrid vehicle then that part is already taken care of, just getting the forward control idea through the hoops would be the tricky bit.
The same deal with leaving the main vehicle to solar recharge while running around in the towed vehicle would apply, but the added bonus of using a fast charge point to bring some back to transfer to the motorhome if the weather is a bit ordinary.

Just ideas off the top of my head at the moment because I have no idea just how it could be done. I'd love to tow my plug in Prius behind any of our motorhomes and the Prius assisting on the take off, overtaking and up hill climbs.

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Re: Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by francisco.shi » Tue, 05 Mar 2019, 17:27

I did not think it would be a driver-less vehicle because it would not run unless it is connected to the towing vehicle. So it will be driven by the driver of the towing vehicle. So say if you disconnected the plug for the tail lights then the motors would be disabled.
The Caravan would stay behind charging its own internal battery that could then charge the electric car. With a big battery you could run for a few days without sun. If it was so long that you run out of power in the caravan then you probably have bigger problems.

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Re: Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by brunohill » Tue, 05 Mar 2019, 20:47

Just make sure you camp on top of a hill. You should get plenty of regen going back down.

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Re: Hybrid drive caravan?

Post by T1 Terry » Wed, 06 Mar 2019, 10:26

Weight would be the problem with a big caravan battery. a lot of our work comes from people who need to reduce their van weight by pulling out the lead acid batteries and installing lithium batteries. from there the inverter ends up getting upgraded and then the solar and in the end they have the ability to free camp indefinitely while using all the kitchen appliances from home.
A trend lately is to go full electric and either remove the gas appliances or buy a new van with no gas appliances installed. Buying a swap bottle or getting a refill off the beaten track can be very expensive and quite often hard to find so this is the driver behind the all electric switch.
Motorhomes have more weight flexibility so a bigger battery can be installed along with more solar because of the increased roof area. Being able to run a split system inverter air con 24/7 without needing to carry a generator is a great selling point for a larger system.

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