Low battery anxiety is a real thing. From cell phones to TV remotes, we depend on batteries to power the devices we use everyday. For those of us who own all-electric vehicles (EVs), this anxiety can be particularly pronounced. While I’ve never run out of juice while driving my EV in the two or so years I’ve owned it, I’ve come awfully close. I have run several scenarios through my head about what I would do if a dead battery in my car left me stranded somewhere. I’ve come to the conclusion that as soon as I could bring myself to stop sobbing, I would probably have to call a tow truck to take me home. While a tow truck may be my only option now, there are big brains at work on finding different solutions.
Not surprisingly, the American Automotive Association (AAA) has been a leader in mobile electric charging. As we noted here, AAA maintains a fleet of trucks capable of recharging both the large lithium-ion and the smaller 12-volt batteries that EVs use in their operation. These trucks carry a fast charger that can give the vehicle about a mile of charge every minute, which is fantastic for drivers who get stranded close to home.
For drivers who get stranded not so close to home, all hope is not lost. With offices and distribution centers in Massachusetts, California, and New York, SparkCharge has developed a mobile charging station comprised of a charger module and a battery module. When combined, both modules weigh about 70 lbs. and both are just about the same size as a carry on suitcase. At present, these units are not available to the public for direct purchase. The stranded driver must arrange for the unit to be delivered through an app, much like they would when ordering food. Still, the technology is exciting and there is future potential for private ownership.
Volkswagen may also have found a way to alleviate low battery anxiety. In an attempt to find a solution to charging needs for owners who park their cars on the street or don’t have power in their garage, the company has unveiled a mobile power bank capable of charging several EVs at a time. The German automaker’s plan is to deliver a large power bank to a public space such as a shopping mall parking lot. EV owners can park, plug in, and have their vehicles charged in as little as 17 minutes! While not necessarily a solution for the EV driver who runs out of power in the middle of nowhere, Volkswagen’s mobile charging stations could encourage more city dwellers to make the switch to all-electric. Unfortunately for those of us non-Germans, Volkswagen has no immediate plans to offer their mobile charging services outside of Germany any time in the near future.
What do our readers think the future of mobile electric charging will look like? Will EV battery range ever get so good that even a moron like yours truly will be able to avoid running out of charge? Please leave us a comment below and let us know.
Source | Image: Wikimedia Commons