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Old 04-23-2017, 11:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Trailer with electric hub-motors

Recently we bought a travel trailer. It's small and pretty lightweight, but still causes the fuel consumption to go up significantly. I had the idea of what would happen if the trailer had in-hub electric wheels that would help with acceleration while driving. It seems pretty sensible and would probably revolutionize the travel trailer industry, cutting feel costs in half or more.

However I am unknowledgeable about wheels with electric hub motors, so Im just curious about what people here think. Is this a pipe dream? Or is it possible, and how complex would it be?

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Old 04-24-2017, 02:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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They would only really be useful for short trips like under 100kms. I would assume that most people with travel trailers would want to go a lot farther then that every day of travel.

The weight is only really an issue on take-off/acceleration and hills. It's the terrible aerodynamics of hauling an 8' brick that kills gas mileage the most. Or so I would presume.

So aero-mods are probably going to give you your biggest return. Especially for long distances. Slowing down would help a fair bit too.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to Ecomodder.

Stubby is right, it all depends on where the trailer will be used most. If it's going to see mostly city driving when they lots of stop and go, it may be worth looking into. Otherwise aerodynamic modifications will be far more effective for the highway.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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To make any impact on fuel economy you are going to need to supply the electrical system with up to1kwh per mile. Or lets 50,000 watts continuously if you want it to be of any use on a hill.
Or around 25,000 to 30,000 watts or a half kwh per mile to maybe negate the trailers impact on vehicle fuel consumption.

You are better off focusing on the tow vehicl and trailer, mainly aero dynamics.

To give you an idea how much it would cost, just to put brake axles on my trailer it's going to end up costing up to $400 not counting the tires. And I'm doing almost all the work my self.

If you insist on doing this you are better off forgetting about using hub motors, because hub motors are expensive and proprietary. Just use a full floating heavy duty pickup truck axle. Because you know it can carry the weight and handle the drive torque.

Anything is possible with enough money.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Lots of sensible replies. I like this one best:

Quote:
Anything is possible with enough money.
EG:


Electric Tesla Model X with travel trailer. (Note multiple aero-friendly design elements of the trailer, particularly that tapered tail!)

Not quite what you were asking about, BMIO.

Out of curiosity, what type of tow vehicle & trailer?
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What's the tow rating on a tesla x?
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Where would those motors get their power? A big battery. That all costs money. Most travel trailers don't get used much, so there's all that money spent on electrifying to save money on fuel just sitting there (not saving money). That's assuming it would actually save much on fuel/energy costs, the biggest gain would probably just be increased power. Most people just buy a diesel if they want more power, which generally means better mileage, too.

If you were going to spend money making a hybrid (because that's essentially what you're doing), it would make more sense doing it to the tow vehicle.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubby79 View Post
They would only really be useful for short trips like under 100kms. I would assume that most people with travel trailers would want to go a lot farther then that every day of travel.
Not the case around here. There are a lot of people hereabouts who take their trailers out to mountains/lakes/desert on weekends, that are about that distance.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
It ... would probably revolutionize the travel trailer industry, cutting feel costs in half or more.
So are you trying to save fuel or revolutionize an industry. Because I'm totally down with the latter.

If you want to save fuel, put a Fisher & Paykel washing machine motor outboard each hub, restrained by a trailing arm.

There was a thread about that when I first joined, I can't find it now but I did find this: copenhagen wheel project. By "small and lightweight" do you mean no heavier than two bicycles and their riders?

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Old 04-26-2017, 07:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The problem with revolutionizing the industry with trailer drive is the battery.
Remember to reduce fuel consumption incurred by the trailer you will need the drive power to be between 25,000 and 50,000 watts continually.
So you are looking at needing a tesla size battery just to drive for a few hours.

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