It’s easy to find a gas station, but not so easy to always find a convenient place to recharge an electric vehicle battery while on a long road trip. That’s one of the chief reasons many consumers are resisting the switch to EVs.
While most automakers do include portable chargers with their EVs, for those that don’t a number of companies have come up with similar units you can toss in your trunk or frunk to provide juice on the go including a new one just hitting the market from tech company Fulsolen that includes several compelling new features.
Available in both 32 and 40 amp versions the Fulsolen Smart A01 units can be used by plugging them into any electrical outlet at home or on the road.
In addition, as a means of saving power, when selected, the unit’s “PV charging first” technology recharges an EV battery using solar power through a photovoltaic, or PV cell before reverting to electric power if conditions change.
Touted by Fulsolen as both a safety and power-saving feature is what the company calls the unit’s “unique dynamic load balancing technology.” It automatically senses how much electricity is being drawn on a home’s system and adjusts how much it draws to charge the unit in order to prevent circuit breakers from tripping due to an overload.
The whole idea is to “introduce people to cost-effective electricity and green environment,” said CEO Sophie Jiang in emailed remarks.
The company says Fulsolen portable chargers are compatible with virtually any electric vehicle through the use of various connection adapters.
How long it takes to replenish an EV battery’s charge and how much driving range is provided both depend on the capacity of the battery and how long it’s connected to the charger, according to the company.
Power output ranges from 1.4 kilowatts to 9.6 kilowatts. The 32 amp unit weighs 9.7 pounds and costs $339 while the 40 amp charger weighs 13 pounds priced at $429.
The company is running an introductory sale online through Best Buy’s Canadian websites from November 20-30 with both units discounted 30%, reducing the price for the 32 amp charger to $230 and the 40 amp charger to $307.
Indeed, the ability to emulate the equivalent of carrying a can of spare gasoline is aimed at breaking down a key barrier for many consumers to making the switch from internal combustion engine vehicle, or ICE, to those powered solely by batteries.
With the national charging network still very much in its formative stages, the concern remains among motorists who intend to take longer road trips their vehicle’s battery will run out of juice before they can find a recharging station on, or near their route.
That’s why Fulsolen is jumping into an already crowded market as enterprising tech companies look to cash in on allaying that concern.
A prime example is the J+2 Booster 2 portable EV charger from Juice Americas Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Swiss-based Juice Technology AG. After initial introduction in Europe, the J+2 Booster 2 became available in North America in August, 2022.
“The J+ BOOSTER 2 is like a Swiss army knife of EV charging technology and makes any concerns about vehicle range a thing of the past,” said Christoph Erni, founder and CEO of Juice Technology AG in a statement announcing the unit’s North American introduction. “After all, electricity is available everywhere: you just have to make it accessible.”
Among other portable chargers readily available online at modest cost are:
At least in the near-term, the portable chargers now on the market may just provide enough of a security blanket to convince tentative EV intenders to make the switch, opines Joerg Heuer, the co-founder and CEO of ecoG, a German company developing recharging networks in Europe, North America and Asia.
“I think this notion of devices is probably helping in the transition. It’s not necessarily something we would see, you know, when markets become more regular,” said Heuer in an interview. “This device is providing a kind of mobile charging, wherever you are, and you feel, hey, I’m uncomfortable that the state of charge gets low that this is supported. So I see quite pragmatic fun from that. If you want to ask me do I believe in let’s say in five years, so I thought that this plays a role? Not certain about that.”