United Emirates-based company CAFU launched a Canadian-designed mobile electric vehicle charging van that will provide businesses or individuals with a boost to their cars or trucks wherever they are, regardless of the weather.
The service, known as CAFU En Charge, began in Québec in March. The company demonstrated its product at the 2023 EV & Charging Expo in Toronto, Ont., earlier this week at the Enercare Centre.
“We’ve created a category of mobile fast charging. Currently it’s not something the public is aware about. There’s other solutions that were built in the U.S. and here and there, but there’s no other competitor right now,” said Jean-Francois Lapierre, Global Senior Vice President and Head of CAFU EV, in an interview with Canadian auto dealer.
Lapierre said the product was designed in Canada and made for the Canadian market. He considers it ground-breaking in the connected mobility space.
The first iteration of the product is a Ford E-Transit van outfitted with a charging station, batteries, and a mobile app. There will be 20 more iterations to follow, capable of navigating any type of space or corridor.
“We’re now taking the design and replicating it on bigger units and smaller units, because it’s a fully-modular architecture that we have (in the vans),” said Lapierre. “We want to tackle every type of business case. You have clients that are in various areas of the city where the streets are narrow. We need to be able to go safely into these operating areas. The vehicles will be tailor-made to the clients. The B2B fleet clients are also a big pain-point that we’re solving here.”
Consumers can connect to an app for service and are sent an invoice for the transaction, similar to having a food order delivered to the customer.
Businesses register with CAFU’s website in a standard service type of relationship. The vans will be operating throughout the day and stationed at different depots in urban areas. Montréal was chosen to begin the service, because Québec has the most EV users of any Canadian province.
“The mobile infrastructure allows (the company) to have that flexibility to dynamically move with the demand,” said Lapierre.
The plan is to extend the service in Canada and make it available in the U.S. at some point in 2024. The vans have a 50-kilowatt fast charger that will take only 20-25 minutes for a distance of 100 kilometres. The new iterations will have a 150-kw charger that will take only 10 minutes for a distance of 100-125 km.