A UK startup called ZipCharge has created the world’s first portable suitcase-sized electric vehicle charger dubbed the Go.
Unveiled at the climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, the Go can charge an EV at home or when out on the road in around 30-60 minutes depending on the battery capacity and provides up to 20 miles of range for an average daily commute.
“One of the key barriers to wider uptake of EVs is charging anxiety; the inability to charge near or at home,” says ZipCharge co-founder Jonathan Carrier.
“ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so, will democratise EV ownership.”
In the UK, 40% of car-owning households do not have designated off-street parking, and according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there are more than 600,000 PHEVs and BEVs that could make use of ZipCharge’s product.
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT, said earlier this year: “In the same way people charge a phone overnight, people will want to charge at home when they park overnight.”
The Go itself can be wheeled over to where your EV is parked and plugged into the charging port. The port then secures the charging cable so that it cannot be stolen. ZipCharge can withstand all normal weather conditions and can be charged using a standard domestic plug at a lower cost per kWh of electricity when compared to public charging.
Inside are high energy density NMC lithium-ion battery cells and associated power electronics. It also has a bi-directional AC-DC invertor that enables two-way charging from the grid to the unit and vice versa. This means the power bank can store cheap off-peak energy, which can be fed back into the grid at peak times.
In an effort to be as sustainable as possible, ZipCharge will make the Go’s outer shell from post-consumer recycled plastic. The company’s goal is that by the second half of this decade, all ZipCharge chargers will be made from recycled materials.
Go chargers have smart 2G/4G connectivity enabling users to manage them remotely using the ZipCharge app. Here users can monitor their device and schedule charging events, so the power pack is always ready to use. There is also artificial intelligence built in so that ZipCharge can learn from people’s charging patterns, as well as make schedule recommendations to optimise charging at peak times, saving money and reducing the load on the grid.
ZipCharge expects to make its first models for customers to purchase in the final quarter of 2022.
The Go will be available on subscription for £49 a month or it can be bought outright, however pricing for this option has not yet been disclosed.