A Modular Future for Electric Vehicles
REE Automotive wants to provide automakers with a highly functional blank canvas
Earlier this month, I attended MOVE 2021 — a two day mobility conference at the London ExCEL. Many of the delegates were familiar from the last MOVE event I attended in 2019, only this time having swapped organisations and their suits for a pair of Veja trainers and a branded polo shirt of some since-founded start up. I was also struck by the palpable change in tone compared with the 2019 event — lofty talks declaring game changing solutions were not met with wide eyed enthralment, but rather a collective eye roll. In the past 2 years we have seen countless IPOs and SPACs, arguably of varying success, but all showing that sustainable mobility services are no longer novel but viable and necessary solutions that we all just need to get cracking with.
Over the course of the day I had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Carrier and Richie Sibal, the co-founders of ZipCharge. Between them their CVs look like an engineering careers fair programme, listing Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Lotus, McLaren, Gordon Murray and Delphi to name a few. Over the past 18 months, the pair have created what can only be described as a portable wheely suitcase charger that can deliver 40 miles of range to your electric vehicle within 25 minutes. The device, which can also be chucked in the boot (albeit with a fraction more effort than lifting an oversized bag for a 10 day all inclusive holiday), I had thought was intended to alleviate charging anxiety for those without access to off-street parking. However, on talking to Jonathan and Richie, there are so many more use cases that this product could spark (pun intended). Imagine being a tradesperson who’s vehicle will be parked at a customer’s house whilst [insert name of trade] is being completed. Suddenly, charging does not need to be a conscious or planned part of someone’s day and critically, will no longer take up time that they won’t be paid for. Data from the smart device could tell local councils where the gaping holes in charging networks exist or garages could loan them as EV-spot-of-bother-jerry-cans.