Richie Sibal and Jonathan Carrier developed the handy portable electric vehicle (EV) charger Go and founded the company ZipCharge to bring its charging product to the market. Go is perfect for people who want an EV but have range anxiety and those who live or work somewhere that doesn’t have designated off-street parking with a charge point. You might be surprised to know that around 40% of the UK’s car-owning households don’t have designated off-street parking – that’s a lot of people lacking home charging possibilities!
Although, Go is also great for anyone who wants to save money and make EV charging more convenient. Plus, portable charging increases flexibility and convenience to help people to make the switch to EVs. A user charges it at home or in the office then wheels it to their car like a small suitcase. They can charge their EV anywhere they are from any parking spot! Plus, paying for electricity from the grid to recharge Go is cheaper than using public charging points to charge the EV.
The ZipCharge Go shows how charging infrastructure can develop to solve specific charging needs. To encourage people to switch to electric vehicles, we have to create a charging infrastructure that makes it easier, cheaper, and more convenient to charge. The Go does that by allowing anyone to charge no matter where they park. It provides freedom, removing the burden of finding a charge point close to home, one that is working or isn’t occupied. ZipCharge is a solution for a real need, providing top-up charging to meet your daily mileage needs.
It’s small enough to be stowed away in the trunk of the car or the frunk of some EVs. It’s relatively light too, weighing around 50 pounds. In addition, it has a retractable handle and wheels, so transporting it from car to home and work is very easy.
The outer shell is made from post-consumer plastic waste, and the spaceframe that protects the unit’s major systems is aluminum. The user can personalize the cover with finishes to match the user’s car. On the opposite end of the telescopic handle are the charging ports; on the handle side is the status LEDs display. Inside are high-energy-density lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide battery cells.
For now, there is only a 4 kWh (net capacity) battery version available that can charge an EV at 7.2 kW, but larger versions will soon follow, offering up to 8 kWh of net capacity. In just over half an hour, the 4 kWh unit can add about 12 to 20 miles of range (depending on the EV’s efficiency), and the 8-kWh unit between 25 to 40 miles in an hour. Any regular household outlet can recharge Go, and the unit can be used in the same way as a fixed charging station – in any weather condition.
Other Go features include:
- A bi-directional AC-DC inverter, enabling two-way charging from the grid to the unit. This allows the power bank to store the grid’s cheap off-peak energy and feed it back during peak hours.
- A built-in comms module that supports over-the-air updates, smart charging, and remote diagnostics.
- Geo-fencing capabilities and tracking technology for security.
- Integrated 2G/4G mobile connectivity, allowing users to manage the power bank remotely via a companion app.
- Artificial intelligence, which learns the user’s charging habits and makes scheduling recommendations that take advantage of off-peak electricity availability. This feature saves the user money and reduces stress on the grid.
Plus, Go can be used as a portable power bank to power other tools and appliances and as an emergency power source if there’s an outage.
The press release explains:
The Go is the first element of a global portable EV charging platform that combines hardware, software, machine learning, and innovative ownership models to bring affordable, practical EV charging to more people than ever. ZipCharge Go also creates an intelligent energy management platform that provides flexibility and resilience for the national power grid.
ZipCharge aims to make its first Go deliveries to customers by the fourth quarter of 2022. The product is in the final stages of development. After that, it will be available for purchase and lease, starting at £49 ($67) per month.
Another company called SparkCharge has also developed a portable EV charging system called the Roadie, but it isn’t as compact and easy to handle as the Go. Instead, the Roadie is used as a portable on-demand power source brought to drivers in need by a roadside assistance company.
The Roadie is powerful enough to deliver approximately a mile of range per minute. It’s also scalable and can accommodate between one to five modules stacked on top of each other. With five, the user gets 17.5 kWh of usable power, providing 60 to 75 miles of driving range.
BoostEV is the company that connects EV drivers with SparkCharge Service providers. For example, EV owners running out of power can call a SparkCharge Service provider via the BoostEV mobile app for a 20-kW boost.
Now, we want to take it a step further. What if you have an EV and never have to worry about having enough of a charge to go anywhere you like? We can accomplish that with dynamic wireless charging.
Researchers and companies are developing wireless charging technology that can be embedded into the road for drivers going long distances. See, the plus side of electric vehicles (aside from being emissions-free) is how you never have to fill them with gas. The negative side is that filling a car with gas takes only a few minutes, whereas a full battery charge-up usually takes hours.
If you’re merely traveling to work locally and can charge your vehicle overnight at home or with one of the previously mentioned portable chargers, then it’s not a problem. However, if you want to drive a long distance, you’ll have to set aside time to charge the car every one to three hundred miles, depending on the model.
Imagine if you could drive along a highway that wirelessly charges your vehicle as you go! For instance, with dynamic charging, some highway lanes or even on- and off-ramps would be embedded with charging pads, and your car is charged as you drive it over the coils. Then, you would exit and enter the highway with the same battery charge.
The wireless charging technology would have to be installed into the road so it’s going to take a while before this is a reality. And while wireless charging pads do exist already, they require the car to be parked above them, with only a few feet separating the battery from the technology.
Bring On The Tipping Point!
If you could charge wirelessly at home, at work, and along the way – plus portably when you can’t – you’d never have to think about charging your car, eliminating range anxiety. Thanks to all the different companies and research teams worldwide, we should have roads that keep EVs’ batteries juiced up within a decade and convenient mobile solutions in the meantime.
The discussion about wireless charging is prevalent, from automakers wanting to provide customers with a reason to go electric to governments aiming to decarbonize. Wireless charging gives EVs the bump to surpass the convenience of gas cars. Overall, the wireless charging market is expected to grow by 30% every year, reaching $27 billion by 2025. It’s an up-and-coming sector and a good sign for finally getting to the tipping point of EV mass adoption.