Today at the global climate summit in Glasgow, better known as COP26, a UK startup called ZipCharge introduced its portable electric vehicle charger called the Go - and we're pretty stoked.
The Go is compact, about the size and shape of an average-sized carry-on suitcase, and weighs about 50-lbs. It has a 4 kWh (net capacity) battery and can charge an EV at 7.2 kW. However, larger versions will also be introduced, offering up to 8 kWh of net capacity.
In a little more than 30 minutes, the 4 kWh version can add approximately 12 to 20 miles of range, depending on how efficient the EV is. The larger 8 kWh unit needs about an hour to fully discharge and will add roughly 25 to 40 miles of driving range.
The Go is designed to be simple to use at home, work, and other destinations - wherever a driver parks their car. The unit is charged from any regular household outlet and can be used outside in any weather condition, the same as a fixed charging station.
Therefore, it can be used by those that don't have the ability to plug into a home charging station - they can charge anywhere with the Go. Public charging is currently the only alternative for those without a home or workplace charging station. Relying on public charging infrastructure can be expensive and inconvenient. The Go can alleviate that pain point for some.
It can also offer peace of mind for those that are concerned with running out of charge in an EV. It's small and light enough to be carried in the trunk or even the frunk of some EVs.
Portable charging adds a new dimension to the current charging infrastructure, increasing flexibility and convenience to help people to make the switch to EVs - ZipCharge
More than just an EV charger
Packaged neatly inside the Go are high-energy-density lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide (NMC) battery cells as well as the associated power electronics. The Go utilizes a bi-directional AC-DC inverter enabling two-way charging from the grid to the unit, and from the unit to the grid.
That allows the Go to be used to store less expensive off-peak energy and, if desired, sell it back to the grid at peak times. An integrated communications module supports OCPP-compliant smart charging, over-the-air updates, and remote diagnostics. The Go also offers geofencing and tracking technology to provide enhanced security and peace of mind.
You can also use it as a portable power bank to power appliances or tools, or short-term emergency power in the case of an outage.
From the press release:
"The Go is the first element of a global portable EV charging platform that combines hardware, software, machine learning, and innovative ownership models to bring affordable, practical EV charging to more people than ever. ZipCharge Go also creates an intelligent energy management platform that provides flexibility and resilience for the national power grid."
The ZipCharge Go shows how charging infrastructure can develop to solve specific charging needs. To encourage people to make the switch to electric we have to create charging infrastructure that makes it easier, cheaper, and more convenient to charge. The Go does that, by allowing anyone to charge no matter where they park. It provides freedom, removing the burden of finding a charge point close to home, one that is working or isn’t occupied. ZipCharge is a solution for a real need, providing top-up charging to meet your daily mileage needs.” - Jonathan Carrier, Co-Founder, ZipChrge
Integrated 2G/4G connectivity enables users to remotely manage their Go charger via the ZipCharge mobile app to monitor the device and schedule charging events so the power pack is always ready for when they need it.
Inbuilt Artificial Intelligence (AI) will enable ZipCharge to learn the users’ charging patterns and make schedule recommendations to optimize charging at off-peak times, saving money and reducing stress on the grid.
Gallery: ZipCharge Go Portable EV Charger
Unlike the SparCharge Roadie, the ZipCharge Go is targeted for consumer use and will be available for purchase (pricing hasn't been announced) as well as leased, with a starting lease price of £49 ($67 US) per month.
Basic software functionality will be available to everyone so they can plan and schedule charging, however, enhanced AI software functionality and insurance will be offered on subscription for a small monthly fee which, on average, will save the user £15-20 ($20 -$27) per month.
We like what we've seen so far, but the Go is still a ways off. ZipCharge plans to begin customer deliveries in Q4 2022, meaning we're still a year away from launch - and that's barring any significant setbacks. We'll be following ZipCharge closely and reporting the company's progress in the coming months, so stay tuned.