French Startup Offers Towable EV Battery to Quell Range Anxiety

by Denis Gurskiy

Range anxiety is and will continue to be, a large hurdle for consumers to overcome if they want to get an electric car. Aside from the standard solutions of just putting larger batteries in cars or having more stations available, French startup EP Tender is going with a different solution. The company is looking to bring a rentable and towable EV battery.

What does someone with a gasoline-powered car bring with them if they are worried that there won’t be any gas stations at their destination? Gas cans. Unfortunately at this point, there is not anything analogous in the EV world. The space that a backup battery would take would be much larger than your simple everyday gas cans.

However, EP Tender CEO Jean-Baptiste Segard believes that he is on to something that could give EV owners the same peace of mind, stating:

“We are solving the issue of making EVs which are affordable convenient on long distances,”

As you can imagine, the ‘Battery Tender’ as its called, hooks on to the back of your EV as a precautionary backup in case you run out of juice in the middle of nowhere without a charging station in sight. The current battery tender has a capacity of 36.5 kWh but the company hopes to reach a capacity of 60 kWh within the next year, more than doubling the total battery capacity of something like the Renault ZOE.

EP Tender is taking an interesting approach in having their towable EV battery be available for rent. There are many EVs sold that have a perfectly adequate range for city driving but would require a lot of stops if you wanted to go out on a road trip. With the battery tender, it would allow these people to comfortable buy their relatively low ranged electric cars and not worry about how little range it has in the context of road trips.

EP Tender is envisioning a maximum rental cost of about $37 for the trailer. The company states that each trailer will cost about $11,000 and that a profit can be made by 2024 with 60,000 customers renting 4,150 towable EV batteries.

Of course, not every EV has available tow hooks, especially the small Renault ZOEs and Nissan LEAFs of the world which EP Tender is presumably targeting with this product. The company states that they can retrofit a towbar and connectors for about $650.

Overall the idea sounds interesting, but there are many hurdles considering the timeline of the product. Namely, will this product be necessary in five years?

Electric cars continue to be released with larger batteries and longer ranges. Electric car charging station infrastructure will continue to expand, and who knows how abundant they’ll be in five years.

The product can make sense for those people who have an EV with a range of less than 200 miles, but how many of those cars will be on the road in five years? New EVs will all have adequate ranges and I am skeptical that there will be a large market for used Nissan LEAFs.

Until we get batteries so energy-dense that a gas can sized battery can recharge an electric car, I don’t know of the success of any ‘spare batteries’ that come to market.

What do you guys think? Let us know down in the comments below.

Source: Automotive News Europe

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