Charging hub boosts access for EV drivers

Charging hub boosts access for EV drivers

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

UK startup ZipCharge has launched the design a hub to provide low cost and easy access for charging electric vehicles.

The company is developing the Go battery powerbank with integrated charger that allows vehicles to be easily charged without the need for charging points.

The GoHub provides a central point for charging Go packs that fits in a space in a car park. The Hub holds up to 130kWh of energy using second life batteries from car makers and old Go packs which is charged during the night at low cost. This also uses the same 7.2kW, 32A charger used in the Go packs, allowing the Hub to be powered from a conventional AC powerline. This avoids the need for costly three phase high voltage connections, says Jonathan Carrier, co-founder of ZipCharge.

The hub can also use energy from solar panels or wind turbines on the roof, and ZipCharge has a deal with Flower Turbines in the Netherlands for the small turbines.

ZipCharge has designed its own high efficiency chargers using silicon carbide MOSFETs and is in discussions with contract manufacturers for the boards and battery makers for the cells. It has also developed its own battery management system, and expects the packs to be in volume manufacturing in 2023 with C samples in September.

The packs also include an automotive-grade 4G modem for control and allowing them to be used for energy balancing applications by linking to the power grid.  

The GoHub comes in two variants; a single sided unit housing five ZipCharge Go portable powerbanks, or a double-sided GoHub with ten. Both fit comfortably into a regular parking space or can be sited on the pavement or close to where power already exists. All GoHubs can be intelligently reconfigured, expanded and connected together.

This is the world’s first portable EV charging infrastructure for shared, public use, says the company. Users unlock a Go pack from the hub via an app, wheel it to the vehicle and connect. This provides up to 4kWh of energy or 30 miles of range for £1, €1 or $1.  The hub also includes safety elements such as CCTV and alarms and a fixed connection for disabled drivers who might not be able to use the Go packs.

 “We intend to establish the world’s first vertically integrated ‘energy point operator’ (EPO) to serve hundreds of millions of people around the world so everyone can access convenient and low-cost energy. The ZipCharge Go and the GoHub enable the storage of clean energy, which can then be distributed for a multitude of uses from charging an EV to powering equipment,” said Carrier.

“We predict our portable powerbanks will outsell fixed home chargers by 2030, in the same way mobile phones overtook landlines. That’s because the Go can be used for more than charging EV charging, it’s a portable energy storage device for personal energy management. We have the bold ambition to deploy 100,000 GoHubs globally by 2030 to support EV charging, local grid resiliency and energy democracy,” he added.

The GoHubs will be three times cheaper and three times faster to install versus fixed on street level chargers, reducing the payback period for AC public charging from 8-10 years to less than two.

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