Evaki Solar Power Pad Is a Solution for Energy Independence
On this article we present another gadget review. This time the product is Evaki SPP-01 Solar Power Pad. To begin with, let me describe the “solar power pad” by the Mumbai based company ‘Evaki’. Currently, this is their only product. It is basically a portable solar charger with a battery to charge your smart phones/smart gadgets on the move. The power pad is capable of charging everything that can be connected with a USB cable.
When the parcel containing the gadget was delivered at my office, I thought the package was empty, because it was so surprisingly light in weight. My expectation was that the solar panel of the gadget alone must be quite heavy. Apparently, not. Approximately, the size of an iPad, it has a similar look as well with a white casing around the solar panel (see below). The gadget should be an inspiration for product designers to create a tablet, which allows solar charging from its chargeable screen.
The solar panel is of mono-crystalline type. This means, its charging time is comparatively short.
The Evaki solar power pad comes with a battery for storing the generated power. It takes about 3.5 hours to fully charge under direct sunlight. The gadget comes with double-sided “stick-ons” that stick the power pad to any smooth surface.
Thus, the power pad can, for example, be used while travelling in a car, where it can be stuck to the wind shield/ dashboard to face the sun and charge your mobile (see below). Have you ever been stuck in traffic with your mobile out of battery? Well – here is your cleantech solution! It’s also of great use for those who have a sun-facing glass office. Event when the sun goes down, the battery can charge your laptop!
Eaki solar power pad stuck to the windshield/dashboard of the car
Or, if you are less of a city slicker and spend much of your time in India’s rural areas, it can be part of your survival kit. The battery is of 3,000 mAh. For rural households containing USB bulbs (or USB fans, for that matter), this is a good solution.
The Evaki solar power pad has two USB ports – so it can charge two gadgets at the same time. On the flip-side, it does not come with a USB cable to charge them. If you go through the FAQs section of the company website – the justification given for not providing the cable is that everyone possesses a USB cable in the age of ‘smart-phones’. Not a very good excuse. I have Nokia Lumia, and I don’t carry my USB cable all around. Only my regular charger.
Evaki solar power pad in it’s non-charging and charging states
To be honest, I could not really figure out, when the gadget started charging and when it was fully charged. My guess is that when the ‘Evaki’ letters were blinking with blue light (picture above), the gadget was charging. Whereas, when it was permanently on, it was fully charged. On speaking with the manufacturer, I got to know that the frequency of the flickering also varies. When the frequency of blinking is high, the charge of the battery is less than 50% whereas when it’s low, then it’s more than 50 % charged. This is a very ‘jugaad’ way to figure out the charge of the battery and needs to be improved.
The product comes with a 3 year warranty, so, I’m guessing, that’s at least how long it lasts without problems. However, it isn’t something you can throw around. It is quite fragile with a front glass casing. Price-wise, it’s a stretch! 5,000 Rupees is too steep for a phone charger. But, that’s not why people would buy this gadget. I would buy it, because it’s a cool new application of solar and it gives me great flexibility – independence, even. Also, because, it is “green” and it is a product which I as a consumer can choose. It makes me feel like I am making a small “difference”.
So, let’s imagine scaling up. Suppose, 1,00,000 people were using the gadget, they would be saving at least 2 kWh/ year. That converts to a total saving of 2,00,000 kWh/ year. That’s how much you need to power a village of 50 homes in a year. Not bad for a start!
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