We were approached in 2018 by a start-up company called TRIM-IT. Their business was to be an app based, on demand mobile barbering service whereby the hair salon was inside a vehicle. The demand for power needed to include LED lighting to illuminate the mobile salon, as well as powering high wattage devices such as a hair dryer, fridge and music system. It also would need to recharge a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
The power requirements would therefore be high and sufficient storage would be needed to provide at least 10 to 13 appointments a day with driving in between. Initial prototype builds were based around a large AGM battery bank, modified sine wave inverter, remote control to turn the system on and off. In vehicle charging would largely be based on running the vehicle alternator using a split charge relay.
Though this solution worked well in early set ups the weight of the batteries coupled with heavy charge and discharge cycles would inevitably lead to early failure of the system. As the TRIM-IT business crystallised into a venture of significant future value – the vehicle, build, power system and conversion needed to be reviewed.
So, the new challenge was to create a lithium based, on board auxiliary power system that could store large amounts of energy, fast charge both from shoreline, in-vehicle and had intelligence built in for remote monitoring.
With our partners TBB Power we worked on a new innovative solution that would have high energy density and long life. The weight of the system was critical to reduce fuel costs and ultimately emissions. The new TRIM-IT business model for franchising the vehicle to a mobile barber also meant the system needed to be efficient, reliable and have a long service life.
The Pro Energy Pack is designed around 48V lithium modules designed specifically for in-vehicle installation, they are BMS and CAN controlled and combined with other elements would become a powerful and efficient on board auxiliary power system. The requirement for fast in-vehicle charging would require a high output smart alternator and DC-DC charger that could also convert 12V to 48V.
The Pro Energy Pack would consist of the following components:
- Minimum two x M 48 – 50 lithium modules (48 V 50 AH)
- 3KW 48 V inverter charger with high current shoreline charging (CM3.0S)
- Sword DC – DC bidirectional 1200 W charger
- Control panel with integrated Bluetooth and app
- Power control interface (PCU) to enable on/off of entire system including the lithium modules
- Comms and CAN between elements to enable accurate data monitoring and control of the entire system
- Option to add further energy storage later with no additional changes to the system
After proving with TRIM-IT that this system was affordable, efficient, lightweight and would have long service life the Pro Energy Pack was settled on as the solution.
Fast in vehicle charging alongside the option of fast shoreline charging of the entire system in less than two hours would ultimately ensure the mobile barbers could get as many appointments in as possible during the day, thus making the business proposition to the franchisees more attractive.
Builds of the first vehicles at Bri-stor systems in mid-2021 utilised the Pro Energy Pack and early trials began. Subsequently builds of 60 vehicles plus are anticipated in 2021 and many more in 2022.
The remote monitoring and cloud-based data collection is expected to go live late 2021 and this will bring useful information to TRIM-IT on how the vehicle is being used, how many appointments, fault monitoring and will also provide the function for TRIM-IT to completely turn off the power system if the vehicle is being used inappropriately or if there are financial irregularities.
Details of the Pro Energy Pack are on our website. This powerful, scalable and solid-state auxiliary power solution will enable mobile businesses in catering, dog grooming, coffee sellers and even valeting vehicles to satisfy their power demands efficiently and easily, without use of a generator or PTO solution.