Would a car alternator work better for generating power?
No. Most automotive alternators have one ball/one sleeve bearing, a built-in power-robbing cooling fan, and they require external power to excite them at low-to moderate RPMs. They have never been designed with efficiency in mind, since they were attached to monstrous motors capable of producing orders of magnitude more power than the alternator required. They actually produce AC power, which subsequently must be rectified to DC to charge batteries. This step causes significant power loss in the diodes (around 5%). As I noted above, I ran power output around the diode and directly into the battery to avoid this loss. In addition, alternators are designed to run at extremely high RPMs (alternator pulleys are smaller than the driving pulley on the engine, meaning the alternator turns FASTER than the car engine. Look at your tachometer reading and double it. Whew!), and do not produce usable power until they are rotating quite rapidly, requiring high ratios of step-up from your pedals. A