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UK start-up ZipCharge has revealed its first portable Electric Vehicle (EV) charger, the Go at COP26 summit in Glasgow. ZipCharge is on track to deliver the first models to customers in Q4, 2022.

The 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.

ZipCharge says the Go can be used in all normal weather conditions like a normal fixed charge point.

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.

In-built 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.

ZipCharge Co-founder, Jonathan Carrier, says: “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.”

ZipCharge Co-founder, Richie Sibal, adds: “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.”

Carrier has been talking to Auto Futures.

“The ZipCharge Go aims to democratise EV ownership by allowing people to charge their BEVs and PHEVs wherever they park. They can charge the pack up at home in an hour or two, then wheel it to their car and plug in. Depending on the EV it will take around 30 minutes to give a 20-mile range (that’s well within most peoples’ daily commute). They can carry the Go in their boot, plugging in again whilst they’re at work or shopping. By plugging in a little and often, charging an EV will be as easy as charging you mobile phone,” says Carrier.

“Not only will customers have access to the lower cost of electricity from domestic tariffs, but they’ll be also able to charge whenever and wherever they choose. No more waiting for public charging points to become available,” he adds.

ZipCharge’s designers and engineers have worked with some of the major OEMs to find high level of performance from the minimum amount of materials. This is the ethos they brought to the R&D phase of ZipCharge, says Carrier.

“Every material used in the Go has been carefully considered for performance and recyclability. The outer case, for example will be made from post-consumer recycled plastic. By the second half of this decade, it’s our ambition that every ZipCharge charger will be 100% produced from recycled materials,” he explains.

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With the COP26 summit underway in Glasgow, we asked Carrier about how ZipCharge can help countries and governments achieve zero harmful emissions.

“ZipCharge aims to democratise EV ownership by taking away one of the key barriers to ownership for people who don’t have off street parking and so can’t use a home charger. By speeding up the adoption of EV ownership, this will directly help Governments in their goal of reaching Net Zero.”

Finally, Carrier offered up his thoughts on what EV charging will look like by 2030.

“We expect there to be a wide range of charging options available to the EV motorist. High speed charging stations will undoubtedly still be ubiquitous along key transport links. Destination charging at supermarkets, shopping centres etc. will also support the EV driver to top up. But as more and more EVs will be on the road it is likely to become increasingly challenging to access a charge point that is available when the driver needs it.”

“We’re confident that the 65% of the population in UK cities (40% nationally) who don’t have off street parking will be keen to charge their EV as easily as they would their mobile phone, using a ZipCharge Go to charge wherever they park,” he concludes.

ZipCharge‘s Go Chargers will be available to purchase outright or on subscription for as little as £49 (€57) a month.

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