Portable electric vehicle chargers explained

  • Portable power packs are here
  • Charge your car without needing to go to a charger
  • Essentially like a power bank for your electric car

Ever considered a power bank for your electric car? The most innovative answer to range anxiety is now here.

While charge point access continues to be one of the biggest obstacles to the uptake of electric cars, the fear of being stranded with an empty battery isn't that unrealistic. Portable electric vehicle chargers offer a simple and space effective solution to this. Broadly they offer a 20-ish mile range, just enough to get you out of a bind and to a rapid charger.

What is a portable electric vehicle charger?

Aimed at both drivers nervous about range anxiety and the 65% of urban households that don't have designated off-street parking, portable electric vehicle chargers are essentially power banks on wheels.

What portable electric vehicle chargers are on sale?

The ZipCharge Go is legitimately a world-first for portable electric vehicle charging. It's a suitcase-sized solution—complete with wheels—fitting conveniently into your EV's boot.

It comes in 4kWh to 8kWh sizes and can charge an electric car up to 20 miles in 30-60 minutes—depending on the vehicle's battery spec. You can charge it using a three-pin plug.

It's the brainchild of co-founders Richie Sibal and Jonathan Carrier, both of whom have a combined 40 years' experience in the automotive industry at iconic brands such as Lotus, McLaren and Jaguar Land Rover. 

The ZipCharge Go is not only small enough to fit in the boot, but also uses recycled materials, remote device management and even has a way of making you money.

What portable electric vehicle chargers are on sale?

Connecting to the ZipCharge app, the charge times can be scheduled and this can prove lucrative, since the ZipCharge Go isn't just a basic power bank. With bi-directional technology integrated, it can draw down energy from the National Grid when power is cheap (during the night), then feed it back to the grid at a higher price—pocketing the difference for your piggy bank. This helps the National Grid intelligently manage demand, while also helping to off-set the costs of the charging device itself.

Surprisingly, the ZipCharge Go doesn't cost the earth. In a bid to make the cost comparable to installing a charging point at your home, the Go is available through a subscription model, starting from £49 per month, if drivers don't want to purchase the device outright.

ZipCharge is on track to deliver the first models to customers in Q4 2022. And that's good news, since SMMT figures show that sales of plug-in and battery electric vehicles are 66% up on 2019 figures. As COP26 draws to a close, all drivers are in no doubt future mobility is electric and the ZipCharge Go is undoubtedly one solution to encourage them to make the switch sooner rather than later.

To date, other portable EV charging devices, like Blink, Freewire's Mobi and the Sparkcharge Roadie, are aimed at providing on-the-go charging, but for specific occasions like festivals, events and roadside recovery. Unfortunately, these products aren't yet available in the UK.

What this means for you

You now can now have a backup supply of juice for your electric car should you find yourself in the need for an extra 20 or 30 miles. If you want an electric vehicle, but don't have regular access to an electric car charger, this could be a handy solution.

Further reading

>> Best electric cars
>> Cheapest electric cars
>> The best small electric cars

What is a portable electric vehicle charger?