I agree with your thoughts on weight of wheels. P&G is all about making energy as efficiently as possible, storing it, and using it gradually; EOC doubly so. Heavy wheels may be indicated for that, since they have no effect on RR or aerodynamic drag, only slowing you uphill (but acclerating you downhill).
The whole thing about rotating weight being worth more than dead weight is a myth, well-debunked by the few scientific minds in bicycling...but the message hasn't reached the automotive crowd yet.
I used to have one of those vans ('cept mine said "Hartig Plumbing" on the side).
Looking again at the link I put with the Model A picture, when they were traveling at 20 mph the alternator was putting out 12 amps at 12 volts. That's with a 7 foot rotor on the front. They said beyond 20 mph things got really scary, I guess because they had a 7' gyroscope turning at right angles to the direction the car was traveling.
According to a book I own, "Producing Your Own Power" (1974, Rodale Press, Carol Stoner, ed.), it takes a 6' rotor in a 30 mph wind to generate 1kw. Assuming the average car alternator is around 85 amps (that was what was in my Lincoln, my Plymouth Voyager (junked) and Cadillac have 100 amp alternators, dunno what's in the Geo), the output is near 1kw. (12V * 85A = 1020 W). From this info I suspect you won't get enough power to run the alternator with anything you can put behind the grille...
__________________ "We are forces of chaos and anarchy. Everything they say we are we are, and we are very proud of ourselves!" -- Jefferson Airplane
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