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Self powered travel trailer - wave of the future?


Chalkie
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I'm not sure what to think of this.  Would have made an excellent April Fool's joke.  I especially like the photo with the Telsa.  Many of the Airstream models are too much for my gas guzzling Tundra to pull due to tongue weight and the trucks GVWR.  And they're giving the impression a Tesla can pull it?

 

I try to keep my smartphone away from my camping.  Useful at the CAT scales though.

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  • 4 months later...

Believe it or not the Model X Tesla (pictured in the link) has a tow rating of 5,000 lbs per the Tesla web site, comes standard with a trailer hitch. The base Model X has 670 horsepower, the upgraded Model X Plaid has 1020 horsepower.  Per Tesla it can, indeed, pull a  lighter trailer.  I did read an article about the all electric F150 that tested pulling a lightweight aluminum car trailer with a 2500 lb (or so) car on it and range while towing that load was less than 100 miles if I recall correctly.  No idea what the range of the Tesla might be.

Interesting, eh?

Dave / Believer45

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Welcome, Dave! I have owned RV's since the early 70's and saw my first one in the mid 50's. I still remember my amazement the first time that I saw one with air conditioning and TV. I sometimes wish that I could see what RVing will be like in another 50 years but I don't expect to be here to see it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not a fan of a "self-powered" trailer for towing.....BUT I would buy one for the ability to disconnect and back into a camping spot by myself.

Yeah, no FSR radios, no wife or friend on the other end telling me which way to turn the wheel!!

Towing?  My one-ton diesel does that really well...backing up a big trailer.....no so good.

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Sorry, I am not ready to jump on the EV bandwagon.   We do not have the electric infrastructure to support all the EVs being touted today.  Most a  reas barely have the capacity to hand a hot or a cold day in extreme weather events.   Now they want to ad electric push-cart RVs to the mix.

Ken

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2 hours ago, TXiceman said:

Sorry, I am not ready to jump on the EV bandwagon.

So don't buy one but isn't it great that they are available for those who do wish to buy one? Between you and I, I'll not be buying one of them either. 

Edited by Kirk W
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8 hours ago, stevekk said:

 I recently saw, new to the EV field:   a small teardrop style trailer, that generated power back to the house batteries from the wheels rolling down the road when you towed it.  Can't remember the brand name.  Was $45K.

Energy creation and transfer is never 100% efficient.  There's always loss.  So converting the energy produced by the rotating motion of the wheels of the teardrop trailer, to energy inside its batteries will never be a 100% efficient process.

Also, energy isn't free.  See the First Law Of Thermodynamics.  The energy in the rotating motion of the wheels came from the force that caused the wheels to rotate (the towing vehicle).  (And lessened by the inefficiencies of the rolling tire, the hub assembly, aerodynamic loss and the generation mechanism.)

And the energy transfer process that the towing vehicle used to cause the wheels to rotate was not 100% efficient either. 

Therefore, the energy of the rotating wheels that was converted into battery energy inside the teardrop trailer was a process using at least 3 conversion processes.  Three opportunities for inefficient energy conversion/transfer.

So what this means is:  There needs to be yet another trailer behind the teardrop trailer, to generate even more power from its rotating wheels to inject into the teardrop trailer, to make up for the inefficient production and transfer of energy by/from the towing vehicle to the teardrop trailer.

Oh, wait, that energy production and transfer process will also be less than 100% efficient.........

The moral of this exercise is that the teardrop trailer will never generate even the same amount of energy to the tow vehicle batteries or to its house batteries, as it took to produce that energy.  The amount of process energy required to create and deposit electrical energy into any battery will always exceed the energy deposited.  Energy conversion and transfer will never be 100% efficient.  Period.

The illusion of equivalent energy creation by means such as the teardrop trailer is just that -- an illusion!

There will never be a perpetual motion machine.  :-(

As my DW occasionally says:  "Let that silly notion bring you cheer.....!"

The First Law of Thermodynamics always wins........    

Travel Free!

 

Edited by HMFunk
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9 hours ago, HMFunk said:

There will never be a perpetual motion machine.  😞

But the corollary to that may well be: "There's a sucker born every minute."😁

I'm constantly amazed at the people who are seemingly smart, and have the degrees to "prove" it, who just don't follow the simple logic, or lack thereof.

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9 hours ago, HMFunk said:

So converting the energy produced by the rotating motion of the wheels of the teardrop trailer, to energy inside its batteries will never be a 100% efficient process.

If you read the trailer's description and explanation on the Colorado Teardrops website, there is no mention of generating electricity from the trailer wheels. What it does say is that they will add batteries for storage that can recharge the EV as needed and that those batteries can be recharged at the EV charging station. The article linked by stevekk states the same thing,

 When the trailer battery is depleted, it can be plugged in and charged up like any other EV. That includes Tesla superchargers, should buyers so choose.

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Kirk, guess I stand corrected and didn't read it close enough.  Thanks.  

But an EV can generate power back to the battery by coasting.  I own a 2019 Chevy Bolt EV.  When I coast... no brake, no foot on the "gas" peddle, I generated power back to my EV battery.

 99% of the time I never use my brake peddle.  I have a "paddle" on the steering wheel that is a regenerative brake.  When I come to a stop sign/ red light I use this "paddle" to come to a complete stop.

When I am in the mountains and going downhill, I use ther "paddle" to slow me down and that generates power back.  There is a 60 mile road I frequently drive.  20/30 times a year.  I  actually able to drive it for FREE.  Simplified... I go up the mountain using energy from the battery and then coast down the other side using the "paddle", generating power back into the battery.  Net result is almost ZERO ENERGY every time when I pull into my driveway.

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3 hours ago, stevekk said:

When I am in the mountains and going downhill, I use ther "paddle" to slow me down and that generates power back.

That is called dynamic or regenerative braking and I believe that most, if not all EVs and also hybrid cars have it. That is the reason that hybrid cars do far better on fuel in town than they do on the highway. I would think that if the trailer is designed for use with an EV that they would also build in dynamic braking on it as well but as Funk points out, adding a generator to the trailer wheels while towing would just use more energy that it could create but since most trailers also have brakes that would be a good addition. As near as I am able to find out, none of those trailers have been sold yet and only The Boulder has had a prototype built. For some really interesting reading, visit the Reserve Now pages.

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4 hours ago, stevekk said:

 Net result is almost ZERO ENERGY every time when I pull into my driveway.

If that were true, when you coast down a hill, you'd go up the next one the same distance.  We all know that doesn't work.  Prove it with your grandkids Hot Wheels cars.

The frictional losses and thermal losses through heat generated by every electrical component in the system rob energy.  I suppose if you had a "state of charge" meter in the car, start the trip at 100% and check it again on return, you'd be able to put a value on the energy consumed.

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I need to apologize for not doing my research by reading the Website that you linked to, Kirk.......

So it seems that the teardrop trailer will simply haul batteries that will supplement the capacity of the batteries in the towing vehicle. Carrying that additional weight (batteries are HEAVY) in the trailer will then demand increased energy from the towing vehicle to pull it down the road.  Again, nothing in the energy world is free. The teardrop trailer will not be a “self-powered trailer” like the proposed Airstream model at the head of this thread…..

Two side questions: Will the proposed Airstream trailer self-park while still hitched to the tow vehicle? If so, that type of technology already exists on pickup trucks, and having it on the trailer will not be necessary (if it is already on the truck……).  Am I missing something here?

RE: Regenerative braking (RB) – Contrary to what you may find in some online posts having limited historical perspective, RB is not unique to Electric Autos, and it isn’t even a new idea.  In fact, railroads have been using RB for over 90 years.  A quick online search will show you this. I’ve spent hundreds of hours riding on electric-powered trains utilizing RB, and many of you have as well.  While it is not a 100% efficient process, RB’s conversion of momentum into electrical energy is preferable to the “normal” process of slowing a moving vehicle by converting its momentum into heat (a virtual “pure-loss” scenario).

RB can indeed help extend the range of an EV or Hybrid Vehicle by battery replenishment IF the travel pattern involves substantial downhill grades or frequent stops.  However, as Rickeieio states, RB cannot ever provide actual 100% free travel over any given two-way route due to inherent process inefficiencies of varying sizes.

So having RB is better than no RB. Absolutely! Can RB help decrease operating costs or increase the range of an EV or Hybrid. Certainly!

Will it provide totally-free transport? No.

Travel Free!

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I read on the internet where Rivian EV pickup is going to be able to be towed 4 down, and charge the EV battery while being towed.  Not presently, but in the future.

Regarding my example of my 60 mile FREE drive in my EV, that does not take into account it is NOT a round trip.  I frequently drive 60 miles A to B and then back home 60 miles B to A.  The FREE part of the trip is B to A.  The elevation of B is greater in elevation than A.  Confusing??  Overall, I do use energy from my battery on the 120 mile trip.

The cost of my electricity at my home is 12 cents/ KWH and used to charge my EV.  My EV gets about 4 1/2 mies/ KWH.   So driving... cost me less than 5 cents a mile.  So my 120 mile trip costs me less than $6 in electric.

Edited by stevekk
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1 hour ago, stevekk said:

I read on the internet where Rivian EV pickup is going to be able to be towed 4 down, and charge the EV battery while being towed.

Energy can not be created.  In this case, the tow vehicle will be furnishing the energy to the Rivian.  The Rivian will be like a giant anchor to the tow vehicle.

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Real Goods is the oldest solar power supplier in the US, selling the first retail solar panel in 1978 and publishing the Solar Living Sourcebook since 1982.  Their retail store and Solar Living Center was just outside Hopland, CA and had a couple of exercise bikes you can pedal to drive an alternator feeding a light bulb.  It takes about all you can give pedaling the bike to generate enough power to light the bulb.   It was an interesting stop if you're heading north of Santa Rosa, CA on Hwy 101.

Edit:  The Solar Living Center closed in October 2020 due to the pandemic but photos and courses are available online.  https://solarliving.org/

Edited by Lou Schneider
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