UK-based Zipcharge has introduced the first of what the company calls a “game-changing” step in portable electric vehicle charging: the Go.
Designed by Jonathan Carrier and Richie Sibal – two British engineers with previous automotive electronics systems experience at McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover and Lotus, among other brands – the Go features a bank of high energy density NMC lithium-ion battery cells housed within a robust, aluminum spaceframe, the outer shell of which is made from recycled plastic. The Go also includes wheels and a retractable handle for easy maneuverability, rather like a travel case.
“One of the key barriers to wider uptake of EVs is charging anxiety; the inability to charge near or at home,” Jonathan Carrier explains. “ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so, will democratize EV ownership.” Richie Sibal adds: “Our technical approach to engineering the Go as a lightweight, compact and safe charging solution, and then evolving that into an EV charging platform reflects our intention to combine the development of battery-based systems with the lowest future environmental impact possible.”
The Zipcharge Go range will vary from 4 kWh to 8 kWh capacity, though the power flow itself is a steadfast 7.2 kW. Depending on the EV being charged therefore, the Go can provide up to 32 kilometres of additional juice from between 30 and 60 minutes. The charging port also locks the cable in to make sure the connection is not disturbed.
An accompanying Zipcharge app, plus 2G/4G connectivity, means owners can monitor their EV’s rate of charge and/or schedule charging events as needed.
Carrier and Sibal confirm that the Zipcharge Go is aimed at EV owners that do not have access to off-street parking, and/or can be stored in the trunk while they are on the move. It has not been confirmed though how heavy the “lightweight” Go actually will be.
Initial plans are for the “world’s first global portable EV charging network” to be on the market late next year, with prices similar to that of a standard 7 kW wallbox home installation. Alternatively, Zipcharge will also offer a subscription service, meaning, instead of paying a flat sum outright, customers can pay 57 euros (around $82) per month instead.