The trailer that happens to be a mobile charger, energy storage unit and a solar power plant

California-based ChargeWheel recently announced an intention to launch a network of solar-powered mobile charging hubs in the form of Energy Trailers - trailers equipped with solar panels and 550 kWh energy storage system.

By the end of 2019, as many as 100 Energy Trailers will be deployed, enabling DC fast charging using renewable energy. The endeavour attracted $1 million in seed funding from Right Side Capital, but to complete the project, an additional "multimillion-dollar funding round is expected to close later this year".

Previously, ChargeWheel developed Energy Delivery Vans, also equipped with DC fast chargers and 550 kWh of batteries.

Together with Energy Trailers, ChargeWheel would be able to provide fast charging in any place where DC fast charging is temporarily needed (like special events). We are not sure whether it could be viable to scaled up beyond the emergency/events business cases.

"The funding will support the launch of the San Francisco Bay Area’s first charging network based on ChargeWheel’s Energy Trailers, a combined solar power generation and energy storage solution for charging personal electric vehicles of all kinds. The Energy Trailer system is capable of simultaneously charging four electric vehicles or up to 400 e-bikes and e-scooters at DC fast charging (DCFC) speeds. The ChargeWheel Energy Trailers will complement the company’s existing ChargeWheel Energy Delivery Vans, which are capable of deploying the Energy Trailers or recharging them if needed.By Q4 2019, ChargeWheel will have 100 Energy Trailers ready for deployment and accessible to micromobility fleet operators and EV drivers."

The main advantage of having mobile fast chargers for the operator is flexibility, without installation or permitting required. The cost for EV drivers will be $99 per year with unlimited access.

"ChargeWheel’s Energy Trailers are equipped with solar panels, 550KWh of energy storage capacity and DCFC, and offer several advantages over traditional EV and micromobility fleet charging models:

  • Clean Energy: The Energy Trailer is capable of charging vehicles with 100 percent solar energy generated by roof-mounted solar panels, enabling micromobility fleets to utilize an unprecedented level of clean energy in their operations.
  • No Installation or Permitting Required: Energy Trailers can operate in any parking lot – and anywhere you can bring a van – dramatically reducing space, permitting and equipment requirements for the infrastructure necessary to recharge micromobility fleets at DCFC speeds.
  • No Grid Connection Required: Energy Trailers don’t require a connection to the grid, making them completely mobile and capable of generating renewable electricity onsite using solar panels.
  • $99 Per Year Unlimited Charging Plan: For EV drivers, ChargeWheel will introduce a $99 yearly unlimited charging subscription plan, allowing drivers to charge their EVs at a fixed cost per year at any location.
Fleet operators can benefit from ChargeWheel’s charging as a service offering in several ways:
  • Leasing: Micromobility or EV fleet operators can lease the trailers on yearly contracts.
  • Subscription: For a monthly subscription fee, micromobility fleet operators who use independent contractors for charging of their fleets can direct their contractors to the nearest ChargeWheel Energy Trailer for charging."

Huzaifa Muhammad, CEO and Founder of ChargeWheel said:

“E-scooters and e-bikes are enabling huge strides toward zero-emissions transportation in cities today, but because micromobility charging networks and infrastructure don’t exist where micromobility devices are primarily used, many of the largest fleet operators are relying on warehouses far away from city centers, stocked with diesel generators to charge their vehicles en masse. Similarly there is a lack of DC fast chargers in large city centers for electric car drivers, mainly due to lengthy permitting and infrastructure installation issues. ChargeWheel’s offering addresses the sustainability and efficiency shortcomings in the micromobility industry by providing a cleaner and more convenient way to charge electric modes of transportation in cities.”

Demonstration of ChargeWheel Energy Delivery Van: