London-based EV charging startup ZipCharge has revealed the GoHub, a portable EV charging station for shared, public use. The company claims it allows for significantly cheaper charging and installation than conventional fixed charging points.
The GoHub is a fixed, rooved station with up to 10 portable power banks the size of a compact suitcase. Drivers can rent the charging unit and wheel it to their car – or charge an ebike, electric scooter or other device.
A smaller version of the GoHub that can house five chargers has also been revealed. Both sizes of charging hub are designed to fit in a regular parking space and charge with AC power.
ZipCharge claims that the GoHub is three times cheaper than a regular on-street charging-point, and three times faster to install versus fixed on street level 2 chargers. The company says this should transform the payback period for AC public charging from 8-10 years to less than two.
The mobility of the GoHub means that they can also be placed where the grid can best cope with the extra load and more easily respond to a changing energy and grid landscape as electric mobility inexorably becomes mainstream.
The bi-directional charging capability of the hub not only means they can stabilize the grid by feeding back into it at peak times, but also allow the company to charge lower prices: ZipCharge aims to provide lower prices per kWh compared to fixed AC charging thanks to the integrated Energy Storage System in the GoHub, which allows ZipCharge to take cleaner, cheaper electricity overnight.
The hub allows anyone to use a Go powerbank for a simple to understand fee: £1, €1 or $1 for a 4kWh charge with no connection fee. ZipCharge says this simple and transparent pricing allows everyone to know what their daily driving will cost.
The mobile charging solution uses more than 100kWh of second-life batteries to store clean energy. After a car-battery has been used for 4-6 years, the battery can no longer provide enough power to drive a car, but is still perfectly adequate for slow light vehicles (like electric mopeds) and – in this case – stationary storage applications. After years of service with these tasks, the battery is then finally recycled. Stationary storage units like the GoHub can provide power-balancing to the grid, taking energy when it is abundant and feeding back in when it is not.
Drivers will have the option to reserve a Go charger at one of the hubs via an app. Here, the door to the driver’s assigned unit opens automatically as they approach. The GoHub can come with a rainwater harvester, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and even a wind turbine to produce renewable energy. Electric bike and scooter charging capabilities are also available as an option.
ZipCharge Co-founder, Jonathan Carrier explains “We intend to establish the world’s first vertically integrated ‘energy point operator’ (EPO) to serve hundreds of millions of people around the world so everyone can access convenient and low-cost energy. The ZipCharge Go and the GoHub enable the storage of clean energy, which can then be distributed for a multitude of uses from charging an EV to powering equipment.”
ZipCharge is a young startup awarded with the European Startup Prize for Mobiliy as well as the British Engineering Excellence Award among others.
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