SparkCharge, an EV charging startup that is developing a portable DC charger for roadside assistance of electric vehicles, is beginning two pilot programs in California. SparkCharge has partnered with Atlas Towing of San Francisco, and G1 Towing of Los Angeles to begin mobile electric vehicle charging test programs in their respective service areas.
Atlas and G1 will use SparkCharge's mobile EV chargers to respond to stranded motorists that ran out of battery before they could make it to their planned destination. Charging the vehicle onsite eliminates the need to have the vehicle towed, saving time and money.
SparkCharge's units employ a modular architecture that allows additional battery modules to be added as needed. Each battery module holds 3.5 kWh (3.2 kWh usable) and weighs 48.5 lbs. The charger sits on top of the battery module(s) and weighs 20 lbs. The modules use the same battery format that Tesla uses in the Model S and Model X, 18650 cylindrical cells.
The programs, in close partnership with Agero, the largest provider of white-labeled roadside assistance in North America, aim to help the participating companies test emergency mobile fast-charging in real-life situations and allow them to research and better understand the roadside EV charging service experience, with the ultimate goal of alleviating EV owner range anxiety. To encourage usage – and capture customer feedback – G1 and Atlas are offering mobile charging for free for a limited time in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, respectively. - SparkCharge
Currently, the unit is only available with a CHAdeMO connector. However, a unit with a Combo plug will soon be offered. InsideEVs recently spoke with SparkCharge VP of Marketing, Joshua Rapoza, who talked about how important it is to get stranded EVs charged up and on their way as quickly as possible.
"It feels terrible being stuck on the highway being out of fuel. Now EV owners do not have to spend hours being towed for something that can easily be solved in 10 minutes. I'm thrilled that we are helping people get back to their lives, safely and quickly. -Joshua Rapoza, VP of Marketing, SparkCharge
SparkCharge Portable EV Charger specs:
- 20 kW DC charger (20 lbs) with CHAdeMO or CCS Combo plug
- Single module (48.5 lbs kg): 3.5 kWh (3.2 kWh usable) and 159 Wh/kg (145 Wh/kg usable)
- Battery modules can be recharged using traditional 110- or 220-volt household outlets
- Stackable with up to five battery modules
- 1 module (48.5 lbs): 3.5 kWh (3.2 kWh usable) for 14-15 miles of range
- 2 module (97 lbs): 7 kWh (6.4 kWh usable) for 28-30 miles of range
- 3 module (145.5 lbs): 10.5 kWh (9.6 kWh usable) for 42-45 miles of range
- 4 module (194 lbs): 14 kWh (12.8 kWh usable) for 56-60 miles of range
- 5 module (242.5 lbs): 17.5 kWh (16 kWh usable) for 70-75 miles of range
"It's very exciting to hear the stories of customers choosing to wait for the van with our chargers in it over getting towed to the nearest charging station." - SparkCharge CEO, Joshua Aviv
Gallery: SparkCharge Portable EV Charger
The pilot programs currently running in California are using 5-module units which hold a total of 17.5 kWh and have 16 kWh of usable stored energy. The chargers can deliver up to 20 kW, so they shouldn't have to charge the car for more than 15-20 minutes in order to give the vehicle enough energy to make it to the driver's destination or to a local DC fast charge station.