Cafu mobile EV charging vehicles driving on highway toward the city
Cafu is expanding its Quebec-based mobile fast-charging service for electric vehicles with the purchase of five Lion Electric Lion5 medium-duty all-electric trucks. Photo: Cafu

Cafu, a mobile EV charging solution provider in Quebec, is buying five Class 5 Lion Electric trucks and plans to expand its fleet to other parts of Canada and the U.S. in 2024

Cafu, an on-demand vehicle service provider, is expanding its Quebec-based mobile fast-charging service for electric vehicles with the purchase of five Lion Electric Lion5 medium-duty all-electric trucks.

Dubai-based Cafu will outfit the Lion Class 5 trucks with charging stations and batteries. Through a mobile app, EV consumers and commercial fleet operators can order Cafu’s mobile charger to meet them at any location to charge their vehicle.

This service, known as Cafu En Charge, launched earlier this year as a pilot project in Montreal. The first iteration of the service used a Ford E-Transit, equipped with a 140 kWh battery pack that enables 50kW of fast charging.

“Our goal is to ease EV adoption by solving our user’s and partners’ range anxiety and pave the way for a zero-emission future, all while complementing the current charging infrastructure with our mobile service,” said Jean-François Lapierre, general manager of Cafu in a press statement.

Cafu eventually plans to “rapidly grow” its EV mobile charging service, making it available in other provinces across Canada and the U.S. market in 2024, says Lapierre.

Lion5 just launched

LION5 All-electric class 5 commercial truck
Cafu is ordering five Lion5 medium-duty all-electric trucks. Photo: Lion Electric

Lion unveiled the Lion5 truck last month at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in California. The Class 5 truck has a maximum payload of 12,500 pounds. It offers an estimated range of 320 kilometres.

The truck is slated to go into production before the end of this year.

Lion says Cafu is forward-thinking in its approach to “leverage zero-emission technology to enhance their operations and the customer experience, while solving a problem that EV users commonly face.”

“Agile charging solutions should become increasingly important around the globe, as electric vehicle adoption continues to grow. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Cafu on scaling their mobile charging solutions in the market,” says Patrick Gervais, vice-president of trucks and public affairs at Lion Electric.

Other mobile charging services emerging

Along with Cafu, a few other companies across North America recognize the market potential of mobile EV charging. Some are offering their own mobile charging services or mobile charging products available for purchase.

DM EVS mobile charging pilot
Datametrex EVS’s mobile charging vehicle is equipped with charging power to provide fast charging to vehicles on-demand or for emergency situations. Photo: Datametrex Facebook

Datametrex AI is a British Columbia-based tech company, with a subsidiary, Datametrex Electric Vehicle Solutions (DM EVS). It offers customers mobile EV charging for 24/7, on-demand and roadside assistance services.

With its mobile EV charging van, equipped with fast charging, customers can request the charging van to come to their location for emergency roadside assistance services. The emergency charging service charges customers enough range to go a further 50 km. 

DM EVS also offers Premium On-Demand service charging, which provides periodic EV charging services to businesses, organizations, institutions and small- and -medium-sized businesses.

The company runs its mobile charging solution fleet in Metro Vancouver. It is deploying 20 mobile charging vans in the first half of 2023.

Volvo ECR25 charged by Voltstack e-Charger
Portable Electric’s mobile charging solution can provide charge to construction equipment. Photo: Portable Electric

Another Vancouver-based company, Portable Electric, offers the Portable Electric Voltstack Mobile EV Charger. These chargers, featuring an 80 kW battery capacity, are versatile and can be used for various electric vehicle charging requirements, including boost charging, temporary charging sites, or on-demand recharging, says Portable Electric.

In April, Portable Electric partnered with Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) to provide them with Voltstack 30k Level 2 Mobile EV Charger. It is being offered as part of a bundle package for Volvo customers to buy when purchasing electric construction equipment.

Mobile charging solutions in the U.S.

Other companies in the mobile EV charging market outside of Canada include Sparkcharge, Lightning eMotors and EV Safe Charge.

As part of a pilot program hosted by the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), these companies are participating in a series of demonstration sessions from May to August 2023 to test out their various EV charging solutions and technologies.

When fleets require a charging session, they can make a request through SparkCharge’s online portal or app. Photo: SparkCharge Facebook

Massachusetts-based SparkCharge introduced its new Charging-as-a-Service option, the SparkCharge Fleet, using it’s own Roadie charging system earlier this year across the U.S.

Through the SparkCharge online portal or app, fleet owners and operators can schedule SparkCharge delivery technicians to bring the Roadie system, housed in an all-electric delivery vehicle, to their desired location and time for charging. The Roadie system provides up to 100 kW of DC fast charging.

“[It] that takes the guesswork out of charging infrastructure,” said Josh Aviv, founder and CEO of SparkCharge in a press statement. “Fleet customers can have their vehicles charged without the need for expensive infrastructure that takes two to five years to install. With transformer and chip shortages, SparkCharge Fleet provides an immediate solution to charging needs.”

SparkCharge also offers an Out of Charge (OOC) service, where if a business or roadside company needs to get a vehicle charged that either ran out of range or is in danger of running out they can request on-demand EV charging with SparkCharge. With OOC, SparkCharge technicians deliver between 25-50 miles (32-80 km) of range so the vehicle can make it to its destination

Lightning Mobile on-location EV charging
Lightning Mobile charging unit features battery capacities ranging from 105 to 420 kWh. Photo: Lightning eMotors

Lightning eMotors is also contributing to the mobile EV charging space with its mobile trailer-based charging solution for commercial and consumer EVs. Its Lightning Mobile charging unit, which can be towed to vehicles, features battery capacities ranging from 105 to 420 kWh and supports fast charging for up to five vehicles simultaneously.

Lightning eMotors will be testing and showcasing its mobile DC Fast Charger at DFW airport for five days later this month. Once the testing period is completed, Lightning eMotors will share the data with the DFW to determine the charger’s usage and energy consumption.

EV Safe Charge, a California-based EV charging provider, is also participating in the DFW airport demonstration series with its mobile EV charging robot called ZiGGY.

ZiGGY mobile EV charging robot behind black car
Customers can book a charge with the Ziggy robot at the Dallas Fort Worth airport demo. Photo: EV Safe Charge

Customers can book a charge through the EV Safe Charge app, which guides them to a designated parking facility. The Ziggy robot reserves a parking space and autonomously charges the customer’s vehicle once they arrive.

EV Safe Charge plans to lease Ziggy to various establishments such as parking facilities, shopping centres, hotels, fleet operators and property owners, providing Charging-as-a-Service along with ongoing technical support and maintenance.