Ask any driver of an electric vehicle about what worries them most about long-haul trips and you’ll get a standard answer: Range anxiety. While the promise of electric vehicles is great, the EV charging infrastructure needed to support them still has a long way to go.
That’s where Josh Aviv hopes to come in.
Aviv is the founder and chief executive of Somerville-based SparkCharge, the world’s first mobile on-demand EV charging network. For the latest episode of Bold Types, he sat down with Globe business reporter Janelle Nanos to talk about why he believes his mobile charging infrastructure will allow more people to get behind the wheel of EVs.
SparkCharge has developed the Roadie, a stackable, portable battery pack that can quickly give an EV the power boost it needs to get back on the road. The company also offers an on-demand charging service through its app, Currently, which allows an EV owner to have a charge delivered to their vehicle with the push of a button. “The same way that me or you might order food from Dominos or UberEats, now an EV owner can have their car charged,” Aviv said.
Mobile charging can assist people who don’t have the infrastructure to charge at home — like people who live in apartment buildings or lack a driveway or garage where they can install at-home charging units. Most of the clients now using Currently are doing so at their homes. The app is up and running in cities in California and Texas, and should launch in Boston early next year.
In addition to plugging the gaps in the current charging landscape, mobile charging will also be an important part of the infrastructure long-term, says Aviv. “We don’t need to trench, dig, cable, tunnel — all of that legwork to get a charging station in the ground. Mobile EV charging can be up and running in a city in a matter of days.”
SparkCharge is also hoping to address equity concerns, and ensure that anyone who wants an EV will also have a way to charge it. “Similar to the way you have food deserts in underrepresented communities, we’re starting to see those pop up now with what we’re calling ‘charging deserts,’” he said. “But mobile charging can come in and actually be the charging station that they need.”