My father told me when he was a kid the ice cream truck was electric powered. Instead of a floor full of batteries it had a one cyl engine powering a generator. That experiment could easily be done today by throwing a small generator (lawnmower size engine) in the back of an electric powered car with a standard house plug in. Anyone tried something like that recently?
A 12hp generator will not make enough electricity to drive a modern car on the road at modern speeds. Anyway, you don't want to be entirely without batteries; one of the big advantages of electric propulsion is regenerative braking.
The GM Volt will operate as you describe when its batteries run out.
In what way? The Owen, aside from the novel connection between motor and generator, is a series hybrid like a locomotive. The Volt and Tzero are battery EVs that use a genset to extend range.
As to the OP, it would work, but a commercial system will have to meet the emission standards of cars. I hope the Volt succeeds, but I'd rather have a full EV with the option to rent an add-on genset for those few long road trips. Using a rotorary or microturbine, it might be possible to get the genset off a trailer onto a hitch hauler.
I'm not saying take all of the batteries out. I just wonder if you took either an electric vehicle or hybrid, lets say you throw a honda generator in the trunk of your prius, plug your car into the generator, fire up the generator and off you go. Leave the generator running the whole time you're driving and see if that extends your electric motor range while burning little fuel.
As long as the power of the generator is at least equal, if not greater than the power of the electric motors, then it should work. Unless you are doing a lot of stop and go driving, then a smaller generator might be able to keep up.
__________________ "We are forces of chaos and anarchy. Everything they say we are we are, and we are very proud of ourselves!" -- Jefferson Airplane
Dick Naugle says: 1. Prepare food fresh. 2. Serve customers fast. 3. Keep place clean.
Unless you are doing a lot of stop and go driving, then a smaller generator might be able to keep up.
If you've got batteries and regen, I'd say the smaller generator has a better chance of keeping up if you ARE doing a lot of stop and go. Steady-state driving at highway speeds takes 20-30hp, so if your generator is 100% efficient (it's not; it's nowhere near that) then you'd need at least a 20-30hp generator.