Mobile e-car charger kills range anxiety

May 30, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The ZapCharger Portable has the potential to do away with range anxiety, the biggest roadblock for the acceptance of electromobility: It allows e-car users to take their charging station along wherever they drive electrically – and to recharge their battery at more or less any AC outlet. Its extraordinarily high energy efficiency is owed widely to its innovative silicon carbide (SiC) power transistors.

Designed by Norwegian startup company Zaptec (we remember: Norway is the country where electric vehicles see the highest acceptance worldwide), the ZapCharger is waterproof, protected against rainy weather and galvanically isolated from power mains. It monitors continuously the power grid to which it is connected, adapts the charging power to the respective needs, and switches off automatically in the case a fault is detected.


Inside the ZapCharger, 32 SiC power MOSFETs do their service, ensuring high energy efficiency of up to 97 %. By virtue of its electronic transformer, it has 90 % less weight (3 kg) than comparable products.


The secret of its high energy efficiency lies in the SiC power transistors (manufacturer: STMicroelectronics). SiC transistors allow higher operating voltages, currents and temperatures than conventional silicon components. In addition, they enable higher switching frequencies for the power converters, enabling more compact and lightweight designs with less cooling efforts.


“For us it was important to identify a power technology with very high efficiency that enabled us to reduce the size without negative effects for the performance,” said Zaptec COO Jonas Helmikstøl. “ST’s technology enabled us to implement our invention in a product that significantly improves the user experience. By offering the possibility to take along their charging device wherever they go it removes concerns with regards to the driving range and thus can improve the acceptance of electric vehicles throughout the world.”


After completing a number of field test, the ZapCharger is scheduled to enter volume production in Q3/2016.


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