The ‘Go’ was launched at COP26 in Glasgow as part of a showcase of green technologies at the event. Its premise is simple; to enable EV owners to top up their car’s charge anywhere they go. More than just a suitcase-sized battery, the package is being marketed as offering both the charging hardware and software needed for on-the-move smart charging.
The ZipCharge Go takes the form of what is essentially a hard-shell suitcase full of lithium-ion cells and the associated power electronics. It is bi-directional by design so that it can be charged from the grid – potentially at off-peak times when energy is cheap – and then stored until it is required.
ZipCharge doesn’t state the exact capacity of the Go, but it reckons that for most EVs the unit will be able to provide at least 20 miles worth of charge which it can deploy in around 30 minutes (somewhere around 6kWh makes sense for capacity).
When it is not in use, the Go can be stored in an EV’s boot or at home, depending on requirements. As you’d hope for an EV charger, it can be used regardless of weather conditions and, thanks to an alloy case, wheels and drag handle, it is easily portable. Charging either when plugged in at home or when in use to charge an EV can be scheduled and controlled through a mobile app, whilst in-built systems learn a user’s habits and can help them optimise their use of low cost energy.
It’s a neat solution that has several potential uses for EV owners in the real world. ZipCharge reckons that its product helps answer the question about charging for those who don’t have off-street parking to access a home charging point. Co-founder, Jonathan Carrier, said: “One of the key barriers to wider uptake of EVs is charging anxiety; the inability to charge near or at home. ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so, will democratise EV ownership.”
Whilst this is perhaps an exaggeration, the ZipCharge Go does enable those without access to a home charger the facility to top-up with enough juice to reduce the anxiety about getting to public infrastructure.
Where the ZipCharge Go could really carve a niche is as an emergency backup – like carrying a few litres of extra fuel in a petrol car. For example, if a public charger isn’t working while on a longer journey, the Go could be used to add enough power to get to another one nearby. It’s also a neat solution for rescue services.
Something ZipCharge is innovating with the Go system is offering it on a ‘hardware-as-a-service’ basis. Whilst it’s possible to buy it outright, it can be had on subscription from £49 per month. To purchase outright, the company is aiming for it to compete with Level 2 home chargers – so in the region of £500. Basic functions will be standard, with additional software functionality coming at a small extra fee.