A slew of startups are attempting to solve the problem of electric vehicle (EV) “range anxiety” – the concern that you could run out of power in the middle of a trip – which continues to be a barrier for many people considering an EV. Their answer: mobile chargers built on massive metal boxes on wheels.

Current and would-be EV drivers are not only worried they won’t be able to find a charger, more than 20% of them in the U.S. said they have pulled up to an EV charging station where the equipment was malfunctioning, according to J.D Power.

EV manufacturer Lightning eMotors has developed a mobile charger called Lightning Mobile, which weighs 9,900 pounds and costs more than $300,000. Although not exactly “portable,” the unit functions more like a generator that can be rolled up anywhere charging infrastructure is lacking, including remote locations, event spaces and fleet lots. Up to four vehicles can plug in at a time.

Solutions like these, which offer scaled charging off the grid, can help drivers get through charging deserts and can be lifesavers when it comes to power outage scenarios following natural disasters or grid blackouts.

Another similar robot, named ZiGGY, is being developed by EV Safe Charge. The robot is designed to operate in parking lots and garages and can be reserved by a driver on an app for designated parking spaces. This type of shareable mobile charger could be helpful for urban areas, like apartment buildings or airports.

A slightly different charger is the Roadie Portable, created by SparkCharge. This mobile charger fits in the back of an EV and can supply up to 20 kilowatts (and up to 14 hours) of power with the additional battery units, according to the company.

AAA has rolled out a roadside assistance program in 24 cities, from Denver to Nashville, to help EV drivers who run out of juice. The company can dispatch mobile chargers, allowing stranded motorists to charge their EV enough to make it to their destination or a proper charger.

As public charging infrastructure continues to improve, demand for mobile chargers could shrink, but chargers on wheels can hopefully serve as a “bridge solution.”

Source: AutoBlog

Article by Black Car News

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