The world’s first and ultrafast portable electric car charger, the Roadie, is a mobile electric vehicle DC fast charging system by SparkCharge. It’s a modular system where the batteries can stack on top of each other, and the actual charging unit sits on top.
SparkCharge is a Massachusetts-based startup that was recently featured on the entrepreneurial reality show – Shark Tank, where they received a million-dollar investment from two of the “sharks”, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner.
Since then, they’ve been using that money to improve the Roadie system and introduce new services.
image source: SparkCharge
A Fast and Portable Electric Car Charger
The modular system of this portable electric car charger allows for easy transportation and setup. The Roadie can charge at a rate of up to 20 kW, and that’s good enough to add between 10 and 12 miles of range to an EV in only 15 minutes of charging depending on how efficient the vehicle is .
In order to charge at up to 20 kW, you need to have at least two batteries stacked. If you use the charger with just one battery, it’ll only charge at a rate of 10 kW.
Each one of those battery modules has a gross capacity of 3.7 kWh and a usable capacity of 3.5 kWh, so each battery module will add somewhere between 10 and 14 miles to an EV depending on how efficient the car is.
The battery and charger modules stack on top of each other very easily and disassemble the same way.
A Three-Sized Portable Electric Car Charger
SparkCharge offers the portable electric car charger-Roadie system in three different sizes: a two battery system with 7 kWh of usable energy, a three battery system that provides 10.5 kWh and a four battery system that has 14 kWh of usable energy.
image source: SparkCharge
A Heavy and Portable Electric Car Charger
The portable electric car charger-Roadie system modular is actually light enough for service technicians to carry it around with them, but that doesn’t mean that it’s light.
Each battery module weighs over 73 pounds, and the charging unit that sits on top weighs 51 pounds, so a four battery system with the charger weighs 345 pounds.
That’s not something that you’d want to be carrying around in your trunk, just in case you run out.
An Attractive Lease of Portable Electric Car Charger
This portable electric car charger is not really aimed at consumers because it’s too expensive. A two battery system with the charger costs about $12,000.
However, SparkCharge does have a very attractive lease. Roadside service providers can lease a two battery system with the charger for only about 175 dollars per month, and that makes it affordable enough.
They can put this on their trucks. If they just use it a couple of times a month, the service provider pays for itself.
But how do you know if Roadie roadside assistance is available where you live?
That’s difficult, and there isn’t a standardized map yet to show where this is going to be available. Spark truck does have hundreds of them in service around the country, but you still have to call your local roadside service provider and ask them if they have any type of electric vehicle charging service. If they don’t, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to direct them to the SparkCharge website. Maybe they don’t even know something like this is available.
Use Cases for Portable Electric Car Charger
There are quite a few use cases for the portable electric car charger Roadie, but let’s first take a look at the most obvious use: road assistance.
image source: SparkCharge
The portable EV charging system can be used for roadside charging for EV owners that miscalculated their available range and ran out of charge before reaching their destination.
This happens to gasoline and diesel cars all the time as well, but all they need is for somebody to bring them a jerry can of fuel.
SparkCharge is the jerry can for EVs. A stranded owner simply calls the local Roadie service provider once they’re safely off the road, and the roadside assist vehicle arrives shortly after to give them the boost they need to make to their final destination or the closest charging station.
The roadside assistance was only one use case for the portable EV charger-Roadie system. It’s the most obvious use case and probably what it was originally designed to do when the founders of SparkCharge first set out.
We need some mobile EV charging system to help stranded motorists because it’s going to happen. That was probably SparkCharge’s main thought, but now that they have the system and it’s developed and in use around the country, they’re coming up with some new and innovative uses for the system, such as chargeUp.
ChargeUp is basically charging as a service. It’s a portable EV charging delivery service wherever you want and whenever you want. It is actually already in use.
SparkCharge has it in Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Several more cities are going to be added soon, and the real crazy thing about it is the cost is only $25 a month.
Basically, for only $25 a month, you get them to come and charge your EV wherever and whenever you want them to. There’s no fee per delivery, and it’s just a flat $25 per month.
They do the convenient EV charging at your home, your office and even on the go. This ChargeUp service makes a lot of sense, mostly because there’s a lot of people that can’t currently charge at home.
ChargeUp’s a really interesting concept, very different from other EV charging stations. But it can ease EV owners’ home charging concern because, for a lot of people, home charging is difficult if you live in an apartment or a condo.
Even for some people that live in private homes, home charging is not easy because their electrical service doesn’t allow them to add a 240-volt, 40-amp or 50-amp circuit without a complete service upgrade that could cost thousands of dollars.
This portable EV charger is a solution for those cases.
SparkCharge are coming up with new ideas that the portable electric car charging system isn’t just a roadside assistance system, but they want to do more with it. If it makes a living with an electric car easier, it will open up the world of EVs to more people who didn’t have the opportunity to charge at home.
On the go, the SparkCharge Roadie system can charge us up at least enough to get us to a DC fast charging station or Supercharger and then we can fully charge the battery.