One major challenge moving forward for electric vehicles is ensuring that there are enough charging stations. The charging infrastructure is expanding, but people might wonder what they are supposed to do if they need power in an area with few accessible charging options. Mobile EV charging could be a way to alleviate some of these worries.
Electric car chargers are more available than ever | JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
Mobile EV charging explained
Mobile EV charging refers to methods of powering EVs away from a home charger or charging station. The mobile charging market is new, and two companies that highlight its potential are SparkCharge and RE:START.
According to Yahoo Finance, SparkCharge is a startup that is offering EV owners the possibility of mobile charging no matter where they are. SparkCharge customers can use an app called ‘Currently’ to call for a charge. Then, a SparkCharge employee will come to their location with a portable EV charger called a Roadie.
RE:START is another mobile EV charging company, but rather than offering charging as a service, RE:START is selling a battery that will enable drivers to charge their EVs on their own.
U.S. News states that RE:START batteries are designed to give a driver between 30 and 60 miles of driving range, and with innovative liquid cooling technology, RE:START chargers can do this in 15 minutes. These batteries are portable so that drivers can charge their vehicles no matter where they are.
Possible role in the EV industry
Companies like SparkCharge and RE:START could play a major role in the future of electric vehicles, but it is unlikely that mobile EV charging will ever replace standard charging methods. Instead, mobile charging will likely supplement traditional charging.
Mobile charging could help drivers who want to drive an EV but live in areas with little charging infrastructure. One day, being able to call SparkCharge could mean having access to a charge no matter where a driver is located.
Drivers may be less likely to get stuck on the side of the road thanks to mobile EV charging. Keeping a RE:START battery in an EV could provide peace of mind to the driver. If they find themselves running out of charge, they could simply use this emergency battery to power up their EV to get home or to the nearest charging station.
Mobile EV charging is still in an early stage
Even though there is a lot of promise in mobile EV charging, it will take time before this becomes widely available across the United States. SparkCharge only operates in San Francisco, Dallas, San Jose, and Los Angeles at the moment.
These are already cities where drivers have access to EV charging, so it will take time to see how a service like SparkCharge operates in a place where drivers use mobile EV charging as their primary form of charging.
SparkCharge is growing, though, and the company’s goal is to expand to 20 new markets. Thanks to $23 million in funding, this goal could be achievable.
Drivers may also have more mobile EV charging options in the future. AAA has recently announced a pilot program that will expand roadside assistance services to EVs. According to CleanTechnica, AAA vehicles in 16 cities will carry mobile 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 get 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 moving.