by Deedee Chao
Nomadic Power, a German start-up founded in 2014, is looking at electric vehicle charging in a new way, by developing mobile lithium ion batteries that can charge a vehicle in 20 minutes or less. If this business and model become viable, electric vehicles would no longer be bound to short trips and frequent stops at charging stations, and electric car charging infrastructure can be “mobilized” and more easily set up in different locations.
The company suggests that these mobile batteries can be used in one of three ways: a “charging everywhere service,” where Nomadic can bring a mobile battery by truck to vehicles that need recharging but lack a stationary charging station; roadside assistance, where Nomadic can bring a battery to a car that ran out of juice during a journey; and “charging while driving,” where a mobile battery can be hitched to an e-vehicle and charge as the car drives. For this project, the European Commission has granted the start-up two million euros to build six chargers so they can test their idea and business model this year. At the moment, the company is focusing on testing out the first two possibilities after their first batch Nomads–their aptly named mobile batteries–come off the production line, and has opened an office in Palo Alto, California, citing California as one of the best markets to try out, due to high electric car usage in the state.
Of course, Nomadic’s idea only becomes viable if there’s enough electric car usage to generate enough demand for this technological service to convince investors, towing companies, and roadside assistance services like AAA to buy in and work with Nomadic Power on building a fleet of mobile batteries and deploying them. At the same time, just the successful usage of Nomadic’s first Nomads could incentivize people to consider buying an electric vehicle, by making charging more accessible. We’ll have to keep an eye on Nomadic’s progress and see if they gain support from big e-vehicle names like Tesla.
Nomadic Power. 2016. http://nomadicpower.de/