Having a generator in your car like CommonBear suggests is actually MORE efficient than contemporary ICEs. In my opinionMy standard answer as to why series hybrids (which is what you are proposing) are not a good idea is that the efficiency stinks. Every time you convert power from one form to another, you lose some to efficiency losses. In the series hybrid, you convert chemical power (fuel) into mechanical power (engine, heat and friction losses), use that to generate electricity (generator losses), then control the power to the motor/batteries (switching/regulating losses), then convert the power back to mechanical energy (battery and motor efficiency losses) to drive the car forward.
Much better to just convert to mechanical power and apply that to the pavement in the form of traction. Less losses, better control, and off-the-shelf technology. If you must have a hybrid, running the two systems (electric and ICE) in parallel results in much better efficiency, and the two power trains can complement each other, summing their power outputs, as in the ubiquitous "Hybrids" manufactured by Honda and Toyota.
[rant time] I don't consider either the prius or the civic/insight to be true hybrids. The very definition of "hybrid" is powered by two or more sources of fuel, and these yuppie status symbols are totally powered by one fuel, evil gasoline. It's all just marketing hype. My 27-year-old VW diesel gets fuel economy equal to that of a prius without the car payments or expensive high tech assist equipment.[/rant]
IT’S NOT AN ELECTRIC CAR UNLESS YOU CAN PLUG IT IN !!!
There are many advantages:
-The generator runs only when the batteries are low so you use fuel only on long trips
-you can plug it in like an EV
-costant, efficient torque
-less maintenance (generators are less prone to breakdown)
Moreover, the generator is free to run at it`s peak efficiency speed. ALL THE TIME!
One of the big problems of usual ICEs is that it has variable efficiency at different RPMs.
Chevrolet is making a car of this type called Chevy Volt, a plug-in ''Hybrid''
Many heavy machinery use this concept with Diesel generators because it is more efficient and reliable.
I hope this was helpful for you CommonBear.