A company in North East England is developing a range extender that is designed to reduce the range limitations of electric vehicles (EVs).

Range anxiety is a major barrier preventing EV take-up.

Hyperdrive said its new system has the potential to be integrated into an existing EV in series with the vehicle’s powertrain to reduce these consumer fears.

“Compared with existing technologies, our Range Extender is a low cost, compact and high power-density unit,” says Hyperdrive managing director, Stephen Irish. “We believe this product is the perfect way to overcome the hurdle of range anxiety and it is further evidence that the North East is producing innovative solutions to achieve a low carbon future.”

The North East area of England has a strong EV infrastructure already in place, including the UK’s only dedicated EV test track to support trialing and testing of technologies such as Hyperdrive’s latest Range Extender.

The area is also second only to London in terms of the number of public charge points and is the centre of EV-based skills development and education.

“We aim to have the unit developed, assembled and tested  in the North East and sold world-wide, generating additional jobs and revenue for the region,” says Irish “This is an unusual product aimed at the smaller, light weight end of the power spectrum which we see as being of enormous interest to niche applications.”

The project is just one of the various initiative which has successfully received funding through the Collaborative Projects Fund. The fund was set up in North East England last year to provide grant funding to collaborative industry-research organization project and is supported through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund program.

The capabilities of Hyperdrive’s 15 kilowatt gasoline range extender have already been proven and this project, with the help of £278,331 funding from the Collaborative Projects Fund, allows for the development of a more efficient 15 kilowatt diesel engine.

Hyperdrive said its Range Extender is being developed for use in cars, light commercial vehicles, marine applications, and even as a portable power pack for breakdown services. It is being developed as a compact and cost-effective option, which will allow for a reduction in EV battery pack size resulting in decreasing vehicle weight and cost.

The unit, which uses only proven components to ensure maximum reliability and efficiency, has been designed to run only at optimized points and is switched off when not required. CAN-enabled, Hyperdrive said it optimizes the use of shared engine, generator and ECU components to avoid compromise in the reduction of lower carbon emissions.