Kelley Blue Book: This startup wants to create a gig model for mobile EV charging


You try not to run out of gas. Gas stations convenient to nearly everywhere make it so that you rarely risk running out in the middle of nowhere. But, if you do, there are services you can call that will bring you more gas.

That’s the convenience electric vehicles need to match if they are ever to truly replace the internal combustion engine in our lives.

With expanding charging networks, the first part of it is now easy to envision. But what happens if your car needs to recharge and you’re nowhere near a charger? Massachusetts-based startup SparkCharge has a solution – call in a Roadie.

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SparkCharge’s mobile charging station is a 120-kilowatt fast charger that fits in a trunk (the base unit is less than knee-high to the average adult, but can be stacked on top of several additional rolling battery units to give it more capacity). It’s somewhat similar to Volkswagen’s

proposed solution for EV charging in a parking garage but more mobile and without the cute robot.

Gig economy model for service

SparkCharge doesn’t intend for EV owners to buy one and carry it as a backup device. Instead, they’d like to build a gig economy job out of people who lease Roadies and drive them to customers who need a charge.

Customers can use the company’s BoostEV app to choose between 50 miles and 100 miles of charge and specify their location. The app will then notify independent contractors with Roadies, much the way Uber

or Lyft

notifies drivers, who could then claim the job and drive out to charge the car.

Roadies are already appearing in more traditional services. SparkCharge has announced partnership agreements with Allstate

and vehicle services startup Spiffy (which offers cleaning and light maintenance services wherever you park your car), which now use Roadies to offer their customers roadside charging. Repair shops and towing services in a handful of cities have also signed up.

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“We’re basically creating a whole new network,” says founder Joshua Aviv, “With our unit, you take it out of the box, you plug it into the car, you push a button, and you begin charging. With us, every parking spot, every location – that’s now a charging station.”

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