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The answer to electric car range anxiety

Reported in Autocar. Is this the answer?

This week I heard about a new portable charging station called an EV Rescue. In effect it’s a big, smart battery that rolls on wheels like an airport suitcase, made by a firm recently bought by Chargemaster, the UK’s biggest maker of charging stations.It is meant for big fleet owners or breakdown organisations, in fact the RAC is just beginning service trials with it. If your electric car conks (and you’re a member of the RAC) a nice man will plug this thing in and give you approximately a mile of charge for every minute. Special electronics plot the distance to your nearest dealer or charging point: a five-minute “tickle” may be all that’s needed to get you back on the road.
Now all we need is for these things to become miniaturised, and be portable in a boot like a gallon of gas, and for the stranded electric car owner, Bob will become your uncle.

They are basically about 10kWh worth of lithium battery with a built-in fast charger, so they aren’t ever going to be less volume or weight than the current battery technology allows. The advantage is that they can fast-charge an EV where a petrol generator producing that high a wattage would be very heavy. You can re-charge a Twizy perfectly adequately (though no more quickly than normal) from a lightweight petrol generator. A cheap 2.2kw one would weigh less than 50kg including the fuel. If you want a “zero carbon” one, there’s a 2.8kw one that runs on waste vegetable oil, but being diesel-engined weighs more like 100kg!

Autocar must be in a time warp. The RAC put out a press release on this very innovation in 2012. I spoke to my local RAC depot who said they got the units for evaluation but with so few call outs to EV users they were not going to make them standard issue.

Bearing in mind the size and weight, it would be easier to carry some RF cards and tow the vehicle to the nearest Chargepoint.

Just shows some of you guys are more up to date with EV matters than some of these motoring journalists.

:slight_smile:

Actually the only time I called them out for this (fully explaining what it was) they sent a van - with a set of jump leads, as I had a ‘flat battery’. He towed me to a Chargepoint 4 miles away!

I called the special Renault ZE Assistance number, and still got a van sent out to me with a set of jump leads! :open_mouth:

Yeah, we had a couple of journalists trying out one of our Twizys last year who set off with less than half a batteryful and conked out. They called the AA, expecting them to be able to jump-start the car. It must be difficult for people who know little or nothing about EV’s to understand all this charging malarkey. After all, many of them will know that, while a car battery may take several hours to trickle charge from flat, the AA can get you going in seconds. They must wonder why on earth EV’s can’t do that. :slight_smile: