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Comments 5
  1. darin    May 17, 2006 12:55 PM    #

    ” I think Darin liked it because it’s close to the EV Pusher (or is that Pusher EV?) that he’s talked about ”

    That’s exactly it, Jerry – I saw the photo of that electric fifth wheel and immediately started wondering what I could do under the back of my Metro…

  2. — Nate Penn    May 18, 2006 01:14 AM    #

    Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I could only find a couple of entries relating to the fifth wheel on that site and they weren’t very helpful at explaining its properties. The fifth wheel raises a few questions and I want to know more. Help me find out!

  3. darin    May 18, 2006 13:12 PM    #

    Nate – I agree it’s pretty thin on info there. The owner also hangs around at InsightCentral.net – here’s a thread that covers more e-5th wheel issues:


    Care to share your questions here?

  4. — Nate Penn    May 19, 2006 01:14 AM    #

    I thought he had the wheel turning an alternator or something to help charge the batteries. However, it sounds like he has a small electric motor attached to the wheel to power the car on backroads! Then on the highway it retracts into the body. Following my original thoughts concerning an alternator connected to a fifth wheel: How much harder would the car have to work to operate the fifth wheel? How much energy would it put into the batteries? On another note, if you remember, I was considering converting a Toyota 4WD forward control van. Now I am thinking about designing my own car built around a tube frame. Now if I can just get some funding….

  5. Jerry Halstead    May 19, 2006 11:56 AM    #


    I agree, the pages are a bit scattered, jumping from topic to topic without a clear organization of information.

    I apologize if I’m mis-reading your question regarding an alternator feeding the batteries. The simplest answer is: the car would have to work harder to turn the wheel and it would get back less energy. If that wasn’t the case you could have a “sixth wheel” with a motor that was powered by the energy created from the fifth wheel and, as a friend used to say, the car would keep going faster and faster until you exceeded the speed of light (and then all bets are off!).

    I believe the purpose for his fifth wheel is to add “pure electric” power as an option without modifying the existing power train. When cruising around town, stop lights, and low speed/short commute he could run electric or at least have the electric as an assist. (this is relatively the same concept as plug-in hybrids)

    It makes no sense to try and charge an EV while it is driving except, in some cases, as a form of regenerative braking. Regen braking helps recover a little bit of the energy which would normally be lost as heat in the brakes. But it makes the EV more complicated (especially for DC EVs) and doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get significant increase in range.

    For example, my commute starts with a long, steep (>1 mile) downhill. My batteries are charged and regen can’t be used to top them off. By the time I have space in the batteries for regen to work it is all uphill travel. So I’d add a bunch of equipment and complexity and then never get any benefit.