At the Global Climate Summit, also known as COP26, a UK startup called ZipCharge revealed a portable electric vehicle (EV) charger called the Go. It is being marketed as the ideal solution for those who have range anxiety (fearing that your current battery charge left won’t be enough to get to your destination /next charging spot) and those who don’t have access to EV chargers near or at their homes/places of work.
A recent Ofgem report suggested that the inability to charge at home is the main reason car buyers aren’t ready to switch to an EV. To charge an EV at home needs special equipment installed ideally at the spot where the car parks at night such as the garage.
The ZipCharge Go promises to solve this issues with lithium ion batteries packed in a suit-case sized package that weighs around 50 lbs (22kgs). The Go can be charged at home using the normal 3-pin charger via a typical house socket. Once it is full, you can store it in your EV front or rear trunk for later usage. It has wheels just like a suitcase to move around easier. To use it, simply take it out the trunk and plug it into your car the same way it’s done at public charging stations. It is built to handle all weather scenarios.
“One of the key barriers to wider uptake of EVs is charging anxiety; the inability to charge near or at home,” company co-founder Jonathan Carrier explained. “ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so, will democratise EV ownership.”
ZipCharge Go offers a 4 kWh (net capacity) battery and can charge an EV at 7.2 kW. In other words, in around 30 minutes, the charger can empty into your EV and offer you 12 to 20 miles (up to 32km) of range depending on the efficiency of your car. The startup has plans to come up with a bigger 8kWh portable charger that will double the range. 20miles or 30km should hopefully be enough to get you to the next supercharging station or at home /work to plug in the Go again.
The Go also has smart features to rhyme perfectly with the EVs. With 4G connectivity built in, you can use an app to schedule when to charge it for those countries where electricity is cheaper at certain hours of the day. It also offers tracking technology to know exactly where you left it.
In addition, the Go has bi-directional AC-DC built in, which means it can store less expensive off-peak energy and, if desired, sell it back to the grid at peak times.
In case of a blackout at home, the ZipCharge Go can be used to power home appliances or tools on an off-grid location, very convenient.
Pricing details haven’t been disclosed yet, though the startup is targeting to get close to the cost of a fully-installed Level 2 home charger. Leasing is, however, available for £49 ($67 US) per month. The charger should get into stores from the fourth quarter of next year, 2022.