In the early 1990s, the aral TV commercial "I’m walking," featuring a broken-down driver running to the gas station with an empty spare can, became an advertising legend. But what if you get stuck on the track with your electric car??
When the battery no longer emits any sound, the displays remain dark and the new electric car no longer rolls a meter toward its destination, you don’t have many options left. The easiest way is to call the service department of the car manufacturer or an automobile club and have the car towed to the place of breakdown. However, a jumper cable like the one used in an internal combustion engine is not enough, because the battery not only has to be charged briefly and the alternator takes over the rest as a generator, but the battery pack also has to be charged significantly.
What to do when the battery is empty?
By the way, when your electric car stops twitching, it doesn’t mean that the battery has completely run down. In fact, the intelligent charging technology of the batteries ensures that the cells retain a small energy content of five to ten percent so that there is no real deep discharge, which could be expensive.
But the battery technology also prevents you from continuing to drive with the remaining percent in the battery. In this respect, the display in the instrument cluster, regardless of whether it shows the remaining range or the percentage, does not show the real battery capacity, but rather the capacity that the driver can still use in real terms. The bottom line, however, is that you have broken down and now have to get on the trailer or the van, because there is no other way to tow an electric car. The short drive takes you to the contract trailer or to the next fast-charging station – and after the overdue vitamin injection, you hopefully continue to your destination.
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USA shows the way
Another option is mobile recharging services, which are not as widespread in Europe as they are in the USA. Here, these have a long tradition, since there have been companies for a long time that came to refill the fuel tank when it was empty. In the U.S. in particular, anyone who is annoyed by having to drive to a gas station can call a fueling service and they will fill their vehicle with the desired fuel without having to lift a finger. The situation is similar for recharging on order.
Companies like etree offer a service that charges your own electric car at the place of your choice. The service vehicles are equipped with energy storage and fast charging technology for this purpose. The service itself can be requested at any time via app or phone call. Practical: the etree app should be able to safely open the charging flap of the electric vehicle to enable charging service without the vehicle user being present.
The mobile rechargers also run on electricity
The service vehicles themselves are not only electrically powered, but also extremely compact, so that they can be used anywhere. Thanks to a manageable width of just 1.40 meters, the models with their various charging ports can be parked even on narrow sidewalks to bring the empty electric car back to life. Recharging is possible with up to 150 kW with all standard plugs. BMW has since discontinued its own mobile recharging service, which was developed especially for the i3, and most other manufacturers refer to the services offered under their mobility guarantees alone when the battery is empty.
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The situation is different at the Chinese electric pioneer nio. Here the empty battery can be changed not only at one of the stations. If one of the nio models runs out of power, the service comes to the rescue. With one click in the nio app, the power mobile service vehicle comes to you and charges the car on the spot. Up to 100 kilometers in ten minutes.
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a different approach is taken by the american company spark charge, which offers mobile recharging devices called "roadie. The 23-kilogram charging package finds its place at home charged either in the trunk or at the vacation home without an external power connection. Several packages can be connected together on request, and your own electric car can be charged up for the next 20 kilometers in 15 minutes via CCS or chademo plugs. If you don’t want to do the whole thing yourself, you can also have your electric car refueled by the spark charge service called "currently" at your doorstep while you’re shopping or at the restaurant – for 25 U.S. dollars. At launch, this service is available at least in the U.S. metropolitan areas of los angeles, san francisco, dallas and san jose – with other regions to follow. "spark charge started in a dorm room and has grown into a leading company," josh aviv says, "when the roadie was ready for the market, there was a huge consumer demand for a mobile charger. So we created the world’s first and only mobile charging network. With this smartphone app, electric car drivers can order delivery directly to their car."
Ordering battery power via app
A similar service has been offered by the company lightning systems for about a year now. the u.s. developer of zero-emission propulsion systems now offers lightning mobile, a mobile dc fast charger for electric vehicles. So far, lightning systems has converted vehicles such as the ford E-450 or an isuzu FTR from internal combustion engines to electric drives. now the company from loveland / colorado goes one step further and has built a ford transit with liquid cooled dc battery storage. The 184-kwh battery pack can be installed in almost any van or trailer for mobile use. Fleet customers in particular can have the empty battery packs of their vehicles recharged at the roadside. "any fleet of electric utility vehicles will benefit from mobile fast charging", says tim reeser, CEO of lightning systems, "uptime is the be-all and end-all for fleets. While operators plan the deployment of vehicles so that they are charged at depots, there is always the possibility that a vehicle will need to be charged at another location or en route. There is also often a need for DC fast charging in places or at times that are not permitted or where demand does not permit fast charging directly from the grid."