SparkCharge is moving forward with plans to offer mobile charging as a more convenient alternative to traditional charging stations.
After testing its hardware with roadside assistance services in San Francisco and Los Angeles, SparkCharge announced a wider rollout on Thursday, including an improved mobile charging system called Roadie CCS and a mobile app called ChargeUp.
For a monthly subscription of $ 25, electric vehicle drivers in launch markets (Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles) will be able to order fast DC charging wherever their cars are parked. It’s more convenient than taking a dedicated trip to a charging station, and will also be cheaper than home or public charging, says the startup.
As the name suggests, the Roadie CCS mobile charger uses the Combined Charging Standard (CCS). We’ve seen Tesla electric cars in some promotional material, so it looks like SparkCharge has an adapter to accommodate them.
SparkCharge mobile recharge service
In accordance with standard DC fast charging practices, the ChargeUp service will only charge cars up to 80% of their capacity. The recharging sessions are also limited in time: 50 minutes for the basic subscription and 100 minutes for the Premium subscription.
SparkCharge also offers mobile charging as a useful service for electric vehicle drivers living in apartments or condos without charging stations. Investors (SparkCharge has raised $ 5 million since its inception in 2017) also appear to see the value of mobile charging as a back-up plan for drivers, factoring in infrastructure outages or unexpected trips and detours.
What SparkCharge calls a ‘recharge as a service’ model fits perfectly with what the company originally suggested as its goal: a way to use portable hardware to help fill gaps in infrastructure or unforeseen charging needs.
However, another potential application for mobile charging could be commercial truck and bus fleets. Last year, Lightning Systems announced a trailer-sized mobile charger, designed to help fleets negotiate peak / off-peak energy use, or to provide a boost where the DC fast charge has not been installed.