IF WE provide mobile electrical chargers wherever they’re required, we can we will drive electric vehicle adoption?
Earth is warming up, natural disasters are more frequent, and citizens of the world are slowly but steadily inching towards investing in the well-being of their future generations to come. The share of renewable energy of total energy consumption has increased from 16.6% in 2010 to 17.5% in 2016. Although much faster change is required to meet climate goals, the good news there is indeed a change underway. The automobile industry in particular has witnessed the emergence of new players and ideas, poised to disrupt a hitherto traditional industry dominated by giants with a long legacy.
SparkCharge makes a modular, portable charging unit that can charge an electric vehicle (EV) ultra-fast:one mile every 60 seconds. The compact chargers can owned by EV drivers or be delivered to on demand via any service company. This creates a mobile on-demand charging infrastructure, giving owners’ peace of mind that their EV can be charged anywhere.
Emergency roadside services is a huge and growing market. SparkCharge is tapping into this in a new way: instead of towing an EV with a dead battery, a service provider can use SparkCharge’s system to charge a car wherever it is, saving time, money and manpower. In about 20 minutes, an EV in distress can be sufficiently be charged to take a day’s journey towards its final destination or make it safely back home.
- Modular: battery units can be stacked on top of each other, increasing the amount of range delivered.
- Portable: units are able to fit in the trunk of any car
- Powerful: with the ability to charge at a rate of one mile every 60 seconds, SparkCharge is 14x faster than levelone charging, and 6x faster than level two charging.
POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE SOCIETY
SparkCharge ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. They offer a scalable solution that ends EV range anxiety, and creates a charging infrastructure solution at a fraction of the cost, and a much faster implementation rate.
SparkCharge Introduces The Roadie V3: A Larger Capable Portable Fast Charging Solution
SparkCharge invited CleanTechnica to come out to SparkDay 2022 last week where four new products were introduced to the public. SparkCharge made a name for itself with its unique modular portable EV fast charging solution. A few years into their journey, they took the Roadie 2 into the Shark Tank to swim with the big dogs of the investment world and landed a staggering 450 million investment from technologist and investor Mark Cuban and inventor and entrepreneur Lori Grenier.
Disclaimer: SparkCharge paid for travel and accommodations for the author to attend this event.
The SparkCharge Roadie v2 charging a Mustang Mach E. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
The Roadie v3
At SparkDay 2022, CEO Joshua Aviv took to the stage to take the wraps off the next generation of products from SparkCharge — the Roadie v3. This new iteration of the Roadie supersizes the SparkCharge proposition with a massive new unit that packs a 75 kWh battery (56-58 kWh usable). The larger, more powerful Roadie v3 boosts the power output up to an impressive 90kW, meaning it can push out all of its stored energy in around 45 minutes (depending on the charging curve of the vehicle). The max charging speed can actually be upgraded to 125 kW, if needed.
SparkCharge’s Roadie v3 battery pack and charger. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
The original Roadie was a perfect solution for towing companies to add on to their tow trucks. The 3.5 kWh blocks were able to be stacked for a maximum total capacity of 14 kWh. That was intended to give owners with fully depleted batteries enough charge to get to a high speed power station. Think about it as the equivalent of bringing a few gallons of gas to a stranded motorist. SparkCharge will continue to sell the Roadie v2 for exactly these type of applications, but the Roadie v3 brings the system to a whole new level, introducing an extremely capable new platform that opens up a host of new applications.
Its higher capacity necessarily comes in a much larger, heavier package. While the Roadie v2’s battery packs weighed in at 200 pounds each, the battery pack for the v3 weighs in at a staggering 1,600 pounds and for good reason. These larger units are intended to be use in a wide range of applications from temporary to permanent installations, depending on the need. One of the core functions of the Roadie v3 is as the foundation for SparkCharge’s semi-permanent off-grid fast charging station, the Roadie v3 Hybrid.
The Roadie v3 Hybrid
The Roadie v3 Hybrid takes the energy storage and fast charging capabilities of the Roadie v3 and builds them into a full blown stationary DC fast charging station. These stations take the DC energy stored in the battery bank and crank it directly into the vehicle, delivering up to 250 miles of range per fully charged Roadie v3 Hybrid battery pack. These stations run completely off the grid and as such, can be installed in as little as 48 hours. Check out these specs:
- 70 kWh battery (56-58 kWh usable), expandable to meet customer needs
- Charging output of 90kW, expandable up to 125kW
- Can deliver up to 250 miles of range per full charge
- 100% grid free EV charging
- Uses same battery tech as the Roadie v3
- No trenching or construction required
- Can he installed in 48 hours or less
- Powered by the Currently mobile charging network
SparkCharge’s Roadie v3 Hybrid delivering a charge to a Porsche Taycan at SparkDay 2022. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
This capability makes these stations perfect for a wide range of applications that just aren’t great fits for full blown, grid-connected DC fast charging stations. Fleet operators know vehicles, but this world of recharging, fast charging, demand charges, and overnight staggered charging is a completely new world for them. Buying vehicles is easy, but the lead time to engineer, procure, permit, and install a full stable of charging stations can take 18 months or longer.
SparkCharge’s Roadie v3 Hybrid enables fleet operators to quickly install a charging station to recharge a single vehicle pilot, a fleet of vehicles, and to trial new charging locations without being locked in to the sizable investments in infrastructure that come with a grid-tied DC fast charging station. Ford recently told all Ford dealerships to decide if they want to sell electric vehicles in the future or not. Dealerships opting to sell EVs in the future must commit to installing two DC fast charging stations and a level 2 station, at an estimated cost of around 900,000.
The ability to install a SparkCharge fast charging station at a fraction of the cost (sub 100k) without the grid connection, permitting, lengthy regulatory delays, or the need to lock in a permanent location is a lucrative proposition. Looking beyond the Ford use case, fleets like FedEx, USPS, UPS, DHL, Bob’s Plumbing, and more are looking at the very same benefits. Why drop hundreds of thousands of dollars per fast charging station when you’re not even sure the future is electric? When you’re not sure you’re putting them in the best location? When you didn’t plan ahead and need to get some fast chargers installed ASAP. The list goes on an on but it’s clear the flexibility the Roadie v3 Hybrid brings to the party opens up a wide range of new possibilities.
The cost of these stations was perhaps the top question, as they effectively bring together a massive battery bank, battery management system, DC fast charger, and a mobile charging service. How could that be affordable? The folks at SparkCharge have been hard at work to bring together the best of both worlds to make these system cost competitive. They do this by charging up battery packs at night or whenever off peak power is available and selling that back to EV drivers at more traditional daytime fast charging rates. That translates to somewhere in the fifty to sixty cent per kilowatt-hour range, according to SparkCharge CFO David Piperno.
SparkCharge CEO Joshua Aviv explaining the new product lineup to SparkDay 2022 attendees. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
Given the wide range of local electricity pricing, tiered strategies, utility variances, energy mixes, and site host considerations, real-world pricing is likely to have a much wider range of variance. Regardless, it is great to see SparkCharge’s EV charging service enabling a ton of new flexibility into a challenging DC fast charging market. Lowering the up front capital cost of the station alone is sure to have a positive effect on pricing in the DC fast charging space.
By now, you’re probably wondering how these magical battery-powered fast charging stations get charged in the first place and stay charged after they’re used. To enable Rapid deployments, SparkCharge plans to use its Currently mobile charging solution to bring power to the stations. SparkCharge’s Currently is a fleet of vans equipped with Roadie v3s that bring a ton of energy storage and the ability to fast charge to EV drivers. This is a great solution for EV drivers who don’t have charging stations at home, on the go charging, and is sure to be a key enabler of the EV revolution as more drivers opt to drive electric.
Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era:
I’m a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.
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They Have Raised Over 5 Million
Long-time Shark Tank viewers know that sometimes the sharks hesitate when companies have raised too much money before getting onto the show, and that may be something that SparkCharge runs into while in the tank.
According to All Shark Tank products, SparkCharge raised 5 million since its launch in 2017.
Since electric vehicles are growing in popularity, it’s possible that the Sharks will still see this product as something they want in their portfolio, however.
The Product Comes in Four Sizes
At the time of writing, the SparkCharge is available to purchase in four different sizes, which consumers will choose from depending on their independent needs, according to the SparkCharge website.
The “Level 1 Package” is the smallest of the SparkCharge products and will offer drivers an additional 24-30 miles of range when used. The “Level 2 Package” is just a bit bigger, offering 10.5 kWh and adding 36-45 miles of range in one charge.
The two larger chargers are the “Level 3 Package” and the “Level 4 Package.” The Level 3 offers 48-60 miles of range, and the biggest charger offers 60-75 miles of range per charge.
The Co-Founders Watched Every Episode of ‘Shark Tank’
According to an interview with WKBW News, the founders watched every single episode of Shark Tank in order to prepare for their appearance on the show.
“We actually prepared by watching every episode of Shark Tank,” Ellis told the outlet. “From the moment we decided it was the right time to apply for the show we started watching Shark Tank to understand what we needed to do to secure a deal on the show because it’s really what it’s all about.”
Aviv told the outlet that being on the show was a “thrill” and also called their time in the tank a “great learning experience.”
TheyAim to be Sustainable Eco-Friendly
According to the SparkCharge website, the company is very interested in sustainability, social impact and the democratization of energy.
“Our commitment to sustainability is inherent in everything we do – from our company culture to the lifecycle of our product,” the website reads. “We endeavor to create closed-loop systems to keep our ecological and carbon footprint as small as possible, and actively combat the causes of climate change.”
The website states that each portable charging station can last four years or more depending on how often it is used by the consumer.
Shark Tank airs on Fridays at 8 p.m./7 p.m. central on ABC. Tune in to see if the Spark Charge founders get a deal.
Tremont Electric from Shark Tank
Tremont Electric introduced the idea of a portable power source that lets users tap into the kinetic energy stored in their bodies to power various electronic devices. Aaron Lemieux started working on the product in his basement in Cleveland, Ohio, before shifting it to a storefront.
While hiking the Appalachian Trail in the 1990s, Aaron came up with the idea for the nPower Peg. He worked so hard and turned his small idea into a full-fledged business.
This patented gadget was awarded accolades from the Consumer Electronics Association and a Silver Medal for Power Generation.
Since Lemieux was a mechanical engineer who had worked in manufacturing, he was excited about the prospect of bringing new jobs in the field of sustainable energy production to Cleveland. Tremont Electric manufactures NPower Pegs, and the firm had aspirations to produce commercial-grade kinetic generators.
Now that we have established what the company is all about, let’s see whether or not it was able to strike a deal with the Sharks.
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Tremont Electric, the firm that made the nPowerPeg, sought investment of 5000 million in exchange for a 22% stake in Tremont Electric. Aaron Lemieux introduced this product as a human-powered charger. This human-powered charger absorbs the user’s kinetic energy as the user moves around.
According to him, the average cell phone user can charge their device, depending on their movement. You can buy the nPowerPeg for 110. Patents owned by Lemieux prevent the technology from cloning.
Mark Cuban asked Lemieux to sell him on where the firm would go in 10-15 years before he would accept the company’s valuation. Lemieux unveiled a long-term strategy to harness ocean waves to generate electricity on a price scale comparable to coal power as a follow-up.
The idea of low-cost and environmentally friendly energy production indeed intrigued the Sharks. Kevin O’Leary was impressed by the idea of a wave farm; however, he wanted to know why Lemieux hadn’t leased his inventions to existing energy businesses.
Mark Cuban liked the idea of the nPowerPeg but had reservations about the long-term strategy. Therefore, he refused to invest in the company.
Lori Greiner did not believe she was the proper person to help him reach the next level. Therefore, she excused herself. On the other hand, Daymond John felt the same. He believed he wasn’t qualified enough to assist Lemieux.
As much as Robert Herjavec liked the idea of using fewer fossil fuels, he didn’t see how the nPowerPeg’s tiny edition would translate to a global market. Hence, he decided to be out. There was only Kevin O’Leary left in the group to comment.
In O’Leary’s opinion, the wave farm concept was very promising, and he would have purchased it and taken it to GE to sell a license. However, the two million dollar cost was too much for him. Therefore, he decided against investing.
When Lemieux left Shark Tank without a deal, he faced some significant career obstacles. All of the company’s social media accounts were inactive. The company’s website had only a few pages that advertised the nPowerPeg and other products. There appeared to be little hope of truly economical, green energy.
However, entrepreneurs like Lemieux continue the search and, perhaps one day, find a way to save the globe. Nonetheless, he closed the company in 2016 and currently works as a paramedic at the Cleveland Clinic.
Our Review of Tremont Electric (nPower PEG)
Tremont Electric’s nPower PEG backup charger was just what you would have wanted if you were on your feet all day. When you walk or cycle, it’s supposed to catch the energy your body emits and channel it into your dead cellphone battery, reviving it or giving you an extra hour of talk time.
You could keep it with you while exercising, and your battery would always be topped off, thanks to the device’s kinetic energy source.
PEG is an abbreviation for Personal Electric Generator. There’s little doubt that the cylinder’s lithium battery is powerful. It is 10.5 inches long and weighs less than one-and-a-half pounds. You can use the provided small USB cord to charge it completely in less than 4 hours. It has a three-month battery life on a full charge. Green and red LED lights to indicate the charge level of the PEG.
There is a price for kinetic power – the nPower PEG costs 200. It has one iGo.com micro USB tip that can be used with most non-Apple devices. However, additional tips cost an additional 10 apiece. The PEG’s target market appeared to be wilderness trekkers, outdoor lovers, and survivalists. Many other backup batteries are available for a less cheaper price.
The PEG’s productivity varied depending on the activity. You can run a loop with a worn-out PEG as a starting point. A 3G phone could chat for around a minute using this method. If you use 3G, you will have to walk for more than 25 minutes.
Only by moving in a vertical position can the PEG capture kinetic energy. You must attach it to anything using the loop on the top for it to function correctly. A briefcase, backpack, or will suffice, but your pals will wonder if you’re carrying around a battery or just excited to meet them.
The PEG could still be functional, even if you are standing still. You can vigorously move it while keeping it upright. However, keeping it covered has its drawbacks. The PEG should be kept away from magnet-receptive materials to maximize its performance.
If the mere idea of constant movement freaks you out, don’t worry! The PEG is a viable option. You can move it vertically by hand for a short period of time; that should suffice. All in all, it could be a good option if you want to recharge your battery.
- Charges your phone using kinetic energy.
- You don’t need to leave your phone to charge it; you can charge it on the go.
- You can use it even when you are standing still.
- The charging process is time-consuming.
- The price is too high.
- The company is not functional anymore.
Who is it Best For?
Tremont Electric was one of the innovative ideas in the field of technology. The product nPower PEG was introduced explicitly for those who are always on the go and need to charge their phone around the clock.
Sometimes, it gets difficult to carry a charger or stop by somewhere looking for a switchboard. Therefore, Tremont Electric introduced a product that solves your dilemma of charging the phone and lets you do it by preserving the environment.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Country Line Electric Supply is one of the best alternatives to Tremont Electric. It produces electronic products at a reasonable price, serving the community and solving the technical issues as they do so.
Our Final Thoughts
Tremont Electric came up with a fantastic idea of nPower PEG that let you charge your phone using kinetic energy as you move. Even though the idea was brilliant, the company had to shut down due to a lack of funds.
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