ZipCharge have revealed the ‘Go’, their first innovative portable electric vehicle (EV) charger, at COP26. By bringing the possibility of home charging to all, the Go power pack on wheels removes a common barrier to electric car ownership that exists across the world.
In the UK, 8.5 million or 40 percent of car-owning households don’t have designated off-street parking where they could fit a charger. In dense metropolitan areas, this figure rises to 65 percent of households. This makes a portable electric vehicle charger a game-changer for those without off-street parking.
The Go portable electric vehicle charging platform combines hardware, software, machine learning and innovative ownership to bring affordable, practical electric car charging to more people than ever. The ZipCharge Go also creates an intelligent energy management platform that provides flexibility and resilience for the national power grid.
Realising that widespread electric vehicle adoption would be hampered by the inability to charge near or at home, ZipCharge co-founders Richie Sibal and Jonathan Carrier identified and developed a solution.
Using their decades of experience in automotive electronics systems engineering and product development gained at cutting-edge businesses like McLaren Automotive, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, Gordon Murray Group and LEVC, they created the Go. Now well into the development phase, ZipCharge is on track to deliver the first models to customers in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Jonathan Carrier, ZipCharge co-founder, said: “We’re delighted to be launching the Go at COP26, it’s the perfect place to introduce ZipCharge to the world. In light of the Government’s recent Net Zero Strategy – Build Back Greener – never before has the automotive industry had cause to innovate so rapidly to help us reach a low carbon future.
“One of the key barriers to wider uptake of EVs is charging anxiety with the inability to charge near or at home. ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so will democratise EV ownership.”
The Go is compact and convenient, about the size of a compact wheeled suitcase, which can be charged anywhere using a domestic plug at a lower cost per kWh of electricity compared to public charging.
ZipCharge Go provides up to 20 miles (32km) of range in as little as 30 minutes. This is sufficient for the average daily commute in the UK or European Union. ZipCharge Go also works in all normal weather conditions like a normal fixed charge point.
Richie Sibal, ZipCharge co-founder, said: “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.”
In engineering the Go, ZipCharge focused on making the most of our planet’s limited resources, by doing more with less. The Go has been developed to be as energy-efficient as possible with minimal losses. With learnings from the automotive world, the Go is designed for lightweight and performance.
It uses an aluminium space-frame to house the major systems thereby improving the integrity and stiffness of the unit. The Go’s outer shell will be made from post-consumer recycled plastic. By the second half of this decade, the ambition is for every ZipCharge charger to be manufactured from recycled materials.
The Go uses smart connectivity to lower the cost of charging and features integrated 2G/4G connectivity to enable users to remotely manage their Go charger via the ZipCharge mobile app.
An inbuilt artificial intelligence (AI) will enable ZipCharge to learn the users’ charging patterns and make schedule recommendations to optimise charging at off-peak times, saving money and reducing the load on the grid.
Thanks to the bi-directional AC-DC inverter, the Go power bank becomes a local energy storage device. It can arbitrage energy pricing through time of use rates and, when not in use, sell energy back to the grid at peak times.
When hundreds of decentralised Go chargers are pooled together they form a virtual power plant that can supply demand-side response services to help balance the grid, providing flexibility and resilience.
In terms of pricing, ZipCharge will offer its hardware-as-a-service, like Peloton and similar hardware pioneers. Chargers will be available to purchase outright or on subscription for as little as £49 ($67/€57) a month.
This is possible because ZipCharge has set the ambitious target to offer the Go at a price comparable to the fully installed cost of a Level 2 home charge point, and significantly less than bi-directional home charge points currently on the market.
Basic software functionality will be available to everyone so they can plan and schedule charging. With the enhanced AI software functionality and insurance on subscription for a small monthly fee which, on average, will save the user £15-20 per month.
All of this will make charging an electric vehicle at home more convenient and affordable than ever. Plus, for those without off-street parking, especially in big cities, this will be a game-changer.