A major challenge for the future of electric vehicles is ensuring sufficient charging stations. Charging infrastructure is expanding, but people may be wondering what to do when they need power in an area with few accessible charging options. Mobile EV charging could be a way to alleviate some of these concerns.
Mobile charging of electric vehicles explained
Mobile EV charging refers to methods of operating EVs outside of a home charger or charging station. The mobile charging market is new and two companies highlighting its potential are SparkCharge and RE:START.
According to Yahoo Finance, SparkCharge is a startup that offers EV owners the opportunity to charge mobile wherever they are. SparkCharge customers can use an app called Currently to make paid calls. Then a SparkCharge employee comes to their location with a portable EV charger called a Roadie.
RE:START is another mobile EV charging company, but instead of offering charging as a service, RE:START sells a battery that allows drivers to charge their EVs themselves.
According to US News, RE:START batteries are designed to give a rider between 30 and 60 miles of range, and with innovative liquid cooling technology, RE:START chargers can do this in 15 minutes. These batteries are portable, allowing drivers to charge their vehicles anywhere.
Possible role in the EV industry
Companies like SparkCharge and RE:START could play a major role in the future of EVs, but mobile EV charging is unlikely to ever replace traditional charging methods. Instead, mobile charging is likely to complement traditional charging.
Mobile charging could help drivers who want to drive an electric vehicle but live in areas with little charging infrastructure. Being able to call SparkCharge could mean having access to a charge no matter where a driver is one day.
Thanks to mobile charging of electric vehicles, drivers are less likely to get stuck at the side of the road. Storing a RE:START battery in an electric vehicle could reassure the driver. If they run out of charge, they can simply use this backup battery to power their electric vehicle to get home or to the nearest charging station.
Mobile charging of electric vehicles is still in its infancy
While there is promise in mobile EV charging, it will take some time before it is widely available in the United States. SparkCharge currently only operates in San Francisco, Dallas, San Jose and Los Angeles.
These are already cities where drivers have access to EV charging, so it will take time to see how a service like SparkCharge works in a place where drivers use mobile EV charging as their primary form of charging to use.
However, SparkCharge is growing and the company’s goal is to expand into 20 new markets. With $23 million in funding, that goal may be achievable.
Drivers could also have more options for mobile charging of electric vehicles in the future. AAA recently announced a pilot program that will expand roadside assistance services to electric vehicles. According to CleanTechnica, AAA vehicles in 16 cities will carry portable EV chargers.
If an EV driver runs out of battery, they can call AAA and the AAA mobile charging vehicle will come to give the stopped EV enough power to go to a charging station. This is only a pilot program in a limited number of markets, but it could be a sign of where mobile EV charging is headed.
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