What is a range extender hybrid?

The hybrid performance car is no longer an oxymoron. Here’s how manufacturers are using this new tech to make them better, not just greener

You might have heard a little bit about range-extender hybrids a few years ago, but as plug-in powertrains become more flexible and powerful, and range anxiety in full-EVs lessens, so too has the range extender fallen out of favour. A range-extender powertrain is defined by its layout of a combustion engine being a small supplementary motor to, as its name suggests, extend the range from the battery pack. Range extenders also reduce the parasitic mechanical losses associated with combustion engines by not being directly connected to the wheels, instead acting only as an electricity generator, hence their general incompatibility with performance cars.

While private cars have turned away from range-extender-style hybrids, public transport such as buses and the new LEVC London Taxi use the technology to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions without the need to plug in as often as a pure electric alternative. In urban centres especially, vehicles such as the new London Taxi are able to run almost entirely on electric mode thanks to the constant stop-start driving style that tops up the batteries via regenerative braking, only turning to the combustion engine when the batteries are at a critically low level.

Range extender cars

Pro: Most efficient form of hybrid without range anxiety

Con: Is the most compromised in terms of performance applications

Recommended

Porsche to build second eFuel facility in Tasmania
Porsche Patagonia
News

Porsche to build second eFuel facility in Tasmania

Porsche and eFuels partner HIF to build second major facility, this one in Australia’s island state
14 Jul 2022
Yamaha converts 2UR-GSE 5-litre V8 engine to run on hydrogen
2UR-GSE conversion – side
Toyota

Yamaha converts 2UR-GSE 5-litre V8 engine to run on hydrogen

Toyota’s commissioned Yamaha to convert its marvellous V8 engine to run on hydrogen
18 Feb 2022
Hydrogen cars – how do fuel cells work and where do they fit into the alternative fuel plan?
Hydrogen cars – pictures
Fuels

Hydrogen cars – how do fuel cells work and where do they fit into the alternative fuel plan?

Many project hydrogen as the ultimate alternative fuel, but how does it stack up now and in the future?
2 Dec 2021
Ford partners with Redwood Materials to invest in closed-loop battery cycle
Ford sustainability
Ford

Ford partners with Redwood Materials to invest in closed-loop battery cycle

The move to electrification has its own threats to sustainability, but Ford’s new partnership aims to close the loop
23 Sep 2021

Most Popular

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 RS revealed with motorsport-inspired aero and 517bhp
New 992 911 GT3 RS
News

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 RS revealed with motorsport-inspired aero and 517bhp

Porsche launches the most extreme 911 GT3 RS to date, with a focus on track days that’s been inspired through its motorsport success
17 Aug 2022
Aston Martin DBR22 revealed – an open-top V12 rival to the Ferrari Monza SP2
Aston Martin DBR22 - front quarter
News

Aston Martin DBR22 revealed – an open-top V12 rival to the Ferrari Monza SP2

It’s another screen-less low-volume supercar, but the new DBR22 could pinpoint the future of Aston Martin design
15 Aug 2022
Polestar 6 roadster confirmed for 2026 launch – production version of the O2 concept
Polestar O2
News

Polestar 6 roadster confirmed for 2026 launch – production version of the O2 concept

Polestar is putting its stunning O2 concept into production, transforming into the Polestar 6
16 Aug 2022