Portable chargers for electric cars – How it works and who’s doing it – TopAuto
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Portable chargers for electric cars – How it works and who’s doing it

Portable battery technologies may offer a solution for EV owners in areas that lack traditional charging infrastructure.

Maximum range and the availability of charging stations are among the most common concerns cited by those who are on the fence about adopting an EV.

Governments and private companies in countries around the world have therefore been rolling out new charging stations in an effort to accommodate a transition to electric transportation.

In South Africa, companies like BMW, Jaguar, and Audi have partnered with GridCars to expand the country’s charging infrastructure.

However, charging stations take time, money, and space to install – and there’s no guarantee there will always be one nearby – which is where portable chargers come in.

Portable charging

One of the companies taking on portable charging is ZipCharge, a UK-based group that has designed a small, portable EV charger that you can fit in the boot of your car.

No larger than a small suitcase, the “Go” charger has wheels and a handle, allowing you to move it around as you would with your luggage at the airport.

The Go was developed to assist European consumers with EVs who don’t have the ability to charge their cars privately.

Many of these EV owners live in apartments that lack private parking, and home charging may not always be possible for them.

The high density of larger cities, such as London, also presents additional challenges in the form of high costs and a lack of available space to install public charging stations in certain areas, forcing motorists to seek charging stations well outside their normal commute.

At full capacity, the Go is able to provide up to 64km of range and takes between 30 and 60 minutes to charge the EV, depending on the model.

It’s not huge, but the Go was designed as a convenience tool for urban commuters, rather than long-distance drivers. Think of it as a power bank for your car.

For private owners, the Go can be used to charge the car while at work or at home.

Taxi drivers and other commercial vehicle operators can also charge their vehicles between trips, cutting down on time and money spent returning to public charging stations.

Because the Go itself only needs to charge “little and often” it can help to cut down the anticipated spikes in peak electricity usage as more people plug their cars into the national grid every evening, said ZipCharge.

Uber Eats for your car

US-based company SparkCharge has taken a different approach by offering an app-based charging service where you call someone to come charge your vehicle for you.

SparkCharge’s “mobile charging infrastructure” lets you order multiple batteries, allowing you to tailor the range you get from a service.

Its “Roadie” batteries have a charging speed capable of delivering 24km of range in just 15 minutes, and their highest package offers 14kWh of charge, or roughly 90km of range, depending on the vehicle.

Users register their car with the company and pay a monthly subscription fee, which allocates a certain number of delivery requests based on the package.

After putting in an order, a delivery person will come round to charge the vehicle while the owner is at work, at home, or running errands.

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