UK firm launches Zipcharge Go portable EV charger for urban drivers

New innovation offer electric vehicle charging for those without private parking via suitcase-sized power pack

A UK tech company has launched a portable electric car charger which it claims could be a “game-changer” for motorists without access to a driveway or private charging point.

The ZipCharge Go was revealed during the COP26 climate summit as a new approach to the issue of charger access, especially in cities where private parking is at a premium.

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An estimated 8.5 million households - 40% of car-owning families in the UK - don’t have access to off-street parking and this is seen as a major barrier to the uptake of electric vehicles.

The suitcase-sized Zipcharge Go is designed to be charged at home via a standard three-pin plug then either wheeled out to charge the car or transported with the car as an emergency back-up.

Its designers say it will allow owners to charge the unit at domestic energy prices, which are generally cheaper than at public charging points, then top up their car at a time and place convenient for them.

The unit’s lithium-ion battery pack is capable of adding around 20 miles of range to an average EV via a Type 2 connector. Like standard home wallboxes it charges at 7kW, delivering that 20 miles of range in around 30 minutes.

The Zipcharge Go’s creators say it will be sold outright or offered on a subscription basis. Up-front purchase costs haven’t been confirmed by are expected to be in line with the costs of a standard 7kW home charger, which general work out at between £500 and £1,000. Alternatively, drivers will be able to rent one of the units for £49 per month.

As well as charging EVs, the Go is designed to offer two-way charging, theoretically allowing it to feed back into the grid at times of high demand. It also features on-board 3G/4G connectivity for smartphone controls as well as geofencing, tracking technology and remote diagnostics.

Its founders, who have previously worked for Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren Automotive and the Gordon Murray Group, have also set out to use sustainable materials in the unit’s design, with a recycled plastic body wrapped around the aluminium space frame.

ZipCharge co-founder Jonathan Carrier “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.”

New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that EV adoption continues to rise rapidly but still represents just 15% of all new cars. Figures for October 2021 show a 73% increase in EV registrations and the trade body estimates that more plug-in vehicles, including hybrids, will be registered in 2021 than in the whole of the preceding decade.