EcoFlow burst onto the scene last year with a $1 million crowdfunding campaign for its portable and, fresh from announcing $4 million in new investment, the U.S.-China company is back with its second product: a mobile charger.
Follow-up acts are always hard, especially when the first product was a runaway hit beyond initial expectations, but the company is opting to tackle a problem that will appeal to many, staying powered on the go. River Bank — today’s new addition — takes the concept of the portable mobile phone charger and super-sizes it with a power bank that can handle phones, laptops, cameras and even jump start a car.
Two of the main issues with regular mobile power banks are the days-long battery life between in each charge and that they can’t be taken on planes.
While I’m not sure I need The River Bank, the fact it holds its charge for a year, covers more than just phones, and can be taken on planes — that stands out from the competition and makes it pretty darn appealing.
EcoFlow thinks it has cracked the airline issue by breaking the charge down into modules, each of which is below the FAA’s 100Wh capacity limit for carry-on battery packs.
The modular approach also means customers can tailor the pack to suit particular needs. The main pack includes two USB outlets, two USB-C outlets and Qi wireless charging. Two sub-modules connect to the main module with one catering to AC port needs, and the other dedicated to jump-starting cars. (EcoFlow says the module can perform 10 jump starts per charge.)
Aside from offering alternative functionality, the sub modules can be stacked with the main module to expand the capacity, or used to recharge the main module.
Besides smartphones, the array of modules can cover cameras, drones and laptops — well, with an AC port that really means anything. But the company is also throwing in some tech to help charge laptops without lugging the full charging cables and paraphernalia around.
“We included technical adaptor tips which retrofit to virtually any MacBook or other laptop for type-C USB charging,” Harris explained.
The units come with the same aesthetic design as the original EcoFlow product — the $600 River — but they are both more portable and cheaper. The River Bank’s main module is priced at $199, with the sub modules costing $99 each. There’s also a bundle deal for multiple pieces.
EcoFlow CEO Eli Harris said the kind of customer he sees include professionals working in photography, videography and drones, luxury travelers, parents on-the-go, and general outdoor enthusiasts.
EcoFlow is again turning to Indiegogo for the initial market release. Harris told TechCrunch that the crowdfunding helps “communicate better and get feedback” on the product.
Harris added that the product is already in production — it has been prototyped for the past year — and it is scheduled to ship to backers from August, but the sub modules need until December to ship to some markets.
On that note, EcoFlow has put some limits in distribution this time around. The River shipped to more than 40 countries when it went on Indiegogo last year, but this time the full range of products will ship to U.S., Canada, Japan, and Taiwan only. In the case of the main module, that’ll ship to a wider selection of 20 countries which includes Australia, Germany and the UK.
That might be subject to change, however.
“The markets are where we saw the highest conversion during our last campaign so we are doubling down efforts in those geographies,” Harris told TechCrunch. “Based on the inbound inquiries and demand we receive we’ll open up to more countries as the campaign progresses.”
You can find full details on the Indiegogo page here.
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