ZipCharge, today at COP26, revealed its first game-changing portable Electric Vehicle (EV) charger, the Go. By bringing the possibility of home charging to all, the Go removes a common barrier to EV ownership that exists across the world. In the UK alone, 8.5 million or 40% of car-owning households don’t have designated off-street parking.
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.
Realising that widespread EV 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 – their answer is the Go. Now well into the development phase ZipCharge is on track to deliver the first models to customers in Q4 2022.
ZipCharge Co-founder Jonathan Carrier “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 manifesto announcement, 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; the inability to charge near or at home. ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so, will democratise EV ownership.”
Events such as COP26, the United Nation’s Climate Conference, are crucial to establishing robust plans to achieving the Paris Agreement. The ZipCharge team is cognisant of the fact that transport is a key contributor of greenhouse gases; the rapid adoption of EVs and innovation in automotive are key to ensuring the target of net zero is met.
The SMMT, the UK’s motoring trade body, advises there are currently 600,000 plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) on the roads in the UK today – up 66% on 2019 figures – that could make use of the ZipCharge product. Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of the SMMT, said earlier this year “In the same way people charge a phone overnight, people will want to charge at home when they park overnight.”
Engineered to the same standards as automotive electronics systems, the lightweight ZipCharge Go power bank is the size of a compact wheeled suitcase which can be charged at home or elsewhere using a standard domestic plug at a lower cost per kWh of electricity when compared to public charging. Using the retractable handle, users then wheel it to wherever they’ve parked their EV and plug it into the charging port. The port locks the charging cable in, securing the charger with the vehicle. ZipCharge Go provides up to 20 miles (32km) of range, providing sufficient range for the average daily commute (in UK/EU), in a little over 30 mins and can then be neatly stored in the boot, or at home. ZipCharge Go can be used in all normal weather conditions like a normal fixed charge point.
Packaged inside are high energy density NMC lithium-ion battery cells and associated power electronics. A bi-directional AC-DC inverter enables two-way charging from the grid to the unit, and from the unit to the grid, so the power bank can be used to store cheap off-peak energy and feed it back into the grid at peak times. An integrated communications module supports OCPP compliant smart charging, over-the-air updates, remote diagnostics, and together with geo-fencing and tracking technology provides enhanced security and peace-of-mind.
ZipCharge Co-founder Richie Sibal “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 has 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 automotive, the Go is designed for lightweight and performance. ZipCharge uses an aluminium spaceframe to house major systems thereby improving the integrity and stiffness of the unit. This intelligent engineering extends to the consideration of the environmental impact of the materials and components. For example, 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.
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 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 that 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.
ZipCharge will offer its hardware-as-a-service. Chargers will be available to purchase outright or on subscription for as little as £49 (€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.
ZipCharge is creating the world’s first global portable EV charging network to serve a billion people with convenient and low-cost charging wherever they park. The company mission is to democratise EV charging by removing the main barrier to electric vehicle ownership. In the UK alone, 8.5 million or 40% of car owning households don’t have designated off-street parking and can’t charge at home.
ZipCharge has developed a range of portable EV chargers that are compact, affordable, and connected, providing sufficient range for daily driving. The chargers are designed to be simple to use for personal use at home, work and other destinations – anywhere a driver parks their car. The ZipCharge portable charging platform combines hardware, software, machine learning and innovative ownership models to make EV charging more affordable, convenient, and lower cost by utilising the charger as a local energy storage device to provide flexibility and resilience for the grid through the ZipCharge intelligent energy management system.
In the UK over 40% (8.5m) of car owners don’t have designated parking (on- or off-street), In London and dense metropolitan areas this increases to 65%. Source: English Housing Survey (2016) London Assembly Environment Committee (2018).
Inability to charge near or at home is the main reason to reject EVs. According to research, 38% of participants said they were not likely to buy an EV in the next five years, with 59% worried about being unable to charge at home. Source: Ofgem (2021).
Supporting the theory that access to charging is a significant barrier, 89% said they would be encouraged to make their next car purchase an EV if they were offered access to a parking space – on-street or at work – where they could charge their EV while it is parked. Source: Connected Kerb (2020).
The average daily commute by car in the UK and Europe is approximately 20 miles, with the average single car journey a little over 8 miles. Source: National Travel Survey 2019 (pre COVID-19), Eurostat passenger mobility studies carried out by EU Member States 2019.