Imagine for whatever reason you run out of juice with your EV, and now you’re stranded on the side of the road.
This may mean you’ll be getting a ride on a flatbed, or maybe a mobile level 1 or 2 charger equipped truck could sit with you for some time. But what if instead you could get a full recharge in little more time than an average roadside service call?
This latter scenario is just one of several possibilities with Real Power’s Level 3 portable EV charging equipment which we recently checked out at the Electric Drive Transportation Association conference in Indianapolis.
The Chevy truck you are looking at has an on-board generator that develops enough current to recharge a Nissan Leaf to 80-percent in 20 minutes. A Mitsubishi i-MiEV takes 16-18 minutes.
This DC level 3 charge is on par with one of the DC Quick Chargers Nissan is planting at dealers, and other selected locations.
Real Power’s core business is delivering anywhere from 12 kilowatt to 180 kVa of clean AC power to off-grid locations for all sorts of reasons – such as construction zones, natural disaster relief, power outages, search and rescue missions, event services, you name it.
The Indiana-based company is a subsidiary of Contour Hardening, Inc., of Indianapolis, and for the past couple of years has been branching into the growing EV market
Real Power’s EV charger utilizes a generator that runs off of the truck’s power take off (PTO). The generator develops 67 kilowatts which in turn powers a 400-volt, 50-amp DC charger to deliver a bolt of lightning to an electric car with CHAdeMO or SAE combo plug.
According to Sales and Marketing Manager Vincent Laplante, Real Power’s uniqueness was in taking the truck’s PTO and using it to mechanically drive a powerful pure sine wave generator.
The company says its tech is “the world’s first true AC generator designed to work off your truck’s existing power take off (PTO) gear.”
Essentially the system is a marriage of Real Power’s proprietary intellectual property, and reconfigured components to make a small-footprint, portable power source.
The EV service truck was kept short enough to fit into parking garages. Its systems have no on-board storage batteries and instead run off of the internal combustion engine of the vehicle to which they are mounted.
Efficiency is high, and less than one gallon of fuel will provide a full charge for a Nissan Leaf – good for maybe 60-80-plus miles of EV driving.
This and other EV level 2 charging equipment has been tested in the dead of winter in Minnesota down to minus 40 degrees F (same as -40 deg. C).
The system is being evaluated by AAA and others, and its value is being evaluated for uses other than rescuing EV drivers who miscalculated.
These units, along with level 1 or level 2 capabilities, could be used in public events like concerts or sports games, or the like to provide a temporary EV only recharge zone.
The company alternately makes turn-key trucks like the one shown, or can develop custom solutions for a variety of uses.
Laplante said one of its customers configured a large truck to carry three level 3 chargers and four level two chargers to serve like a mobile EV charging hub for multiple cars.
The only limit to their uses would be someone’s imagination. Laplante said the idea is still relatively new, and interest has been greater in regions like Washington, California, parts of New England, Florida, and other regions where EV adoption is greatest.
“As the EV market gains more traction, we’re expecting more demand,” he said.
A turn-key solution could start at maybe double the price of one installed DC Quick charger, or just below $100,000 but this includes the truck. Incentives may be available, to mitigate this outlay.