UK startup ZipCharge has developed a suitcase sized power bank on wheels allowing EV drivers to top up their vehicles to get them to the next charge point.
The equivalent to a can of petrol in the boot of the car, the Go charger is the brainchild of ZipCharge founders Richie Sibal and Jonathan Carrier, both veterans of product development for the automotive industry, having worked for the likes of McLaren Automotive, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, the Gordon Murray Group and LEVC.
An aluminum spaceframe protects its major systems, and the outer shell for the production units will be made from post-consumer plastic waste. There’s a carry handle on one side and the charging ports and status LEDs on the other, and a telescoping handle up top. It rolls on two wheels for ease of transport.
Users can charge the Go’s 4-kWh NMC battery using a standard domestic plug, which should mean a lower cost per kWh than offered at a public charging station. When fully charged, the Go can be wheeled out any plug-in hybrid or EV with a Type 2 socket and cabled up to top up the car’s battery.
The powerbank, says ZipCharge, should provide an EV with about 30 km of range in 30-60 minutes and a larger system is in development. The Go can be stowed in the boot until needed, and is claimed to work in all normal weather conditions.
A bi-directional AC-DC inverter allows the power bank to store cheap off-peak energy from the grid, and feed it back to the grid during peak hours. There’s a comms module built in that supports smart charging, over-the-air updates, remote diagnostics, and features geo-fencing capabilities and tracking technology. It comes with 4G mobile connectivity that allows users to remotely manage the power bank via a companion app, while AI will learn a user’s charging habits over time and make scheduling recommendations to take advantage of off-peak electricity availability.
Currently in the final stages of development, ZipCharge is aiming to get the Go out to its first customers in late 2022. The Go will be available to buy or through a monthly subscription.
The portable charger, says ZipCharge, is the first component in a global portable EV charging platform that the company is intending to set up, which will include hardware, software, machine learning and novel ownership models.