Portable EV charger could be a game changer

A new portable electric vehicle charger has been announced by UK firm ZipCharge, which it claims will allow EV owners to charge their cars or vans anywhere.

The ZipCharge Go is now advancing to validation prototype (VP) stage with designs released for manufacture and hardware testing underway.

Image: ZipCharge.

Available from early 2023, ZipCharge says the Go removes a common barrier to EV ownership – by bringing the possibility of home charging to anyone who can’t currently plug-in at their house.

The company says it is developing the Go using the same rigorous engineering processes as major car manufacturers.

It is building several iterations of prototypes from validation through to pre-production, all of which will undergo an extensive testing regime.

The company’s engineers are currently at advanced stages of lab testing the portable EV charger’s key system components, including the NMC lithium-ion battery cells and the ZipCharge-designed bi-directional AC-DC converter.

This is to evaluate thermal behaviour, charging performance, safety, durability and full functionality to ensure a seamless and safe ownership experience for everyday charging.

The bespoke compact and lightweight bi-directional AC-DC converter utilises the latest high efficiency Silicon Carbide (SiC) semiconductors found in modern electric vehicles.

When coupled with ZipCharge’s innovative software it will enable the Go to be charged at home, using a standard single phase supply in just over one hour.

According to ZipCharge, the product can then be connected to an EV wherever it is parked and deliver 20 to 40 miles of range in around 30-60 minutes, depending on the capacity of the Go charger.

In tandem with hardware testing, ZipCharge says it is also developing bespoke control software and a dedicated mobile application that will allow users to optimise the operation of the portable EV powerbank.

This incorporates a suite of security features, including user authentication and the ability to remotely monitor, track and disable the Go charger from their mobile phone, anywhere, thanks to built in 2G/4G connectivity.

ZipCharge states that the diverse needs of personal customers and fleet users are also considered. This includes the ability to schedule charging, track usage and cost to charge, regardless if they have access to one Go charger or several hundred, the power pack is always ready when required.

It claims this amount of control will generate significant operational and cost benefits for fleet managers who will be able to equip their fleets of electric cars and light commercial vehicles with portable chargers, enabling them to charge wherever they park.

Pricing, or if it will be available here in Ireland, has yet to be announced.