Portable BaseCharge Generators and a "Genius" Solar Panel Join BioLite's Ecosystem

BaseCharge Ecosystem 16 photos
Photo: BioLite Inc. / Edited by autoevolution
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Over a year ago, I ran across a team dubbed BioLite. The main attraction then was their cooking stove that functions on nothing but electricity. This time, they've added two portable power generators and an ultra-efficient and portable solar panel to their ecosystem.
BioLite appears to have been born back in 2008, when two gentlemen, Johnathan and Alec, presented a working prototype of a gas-less stove at a "combustion conference." Since this thing was powered on nothing more than biomass, it helped reduce smoke and raise safety. Oh, the key is that it incorporated thermoelectric technology, an industry where we explore materials that can generate heat when excited with electricity and vice versa.

Fast forward to now, and the manipulation of electricity seems to still be the name of the game for this crew because here we are, being presented with nothing more than two portable, electric, solar-powered generators and a solar panel to ensure you can capture that precious juice from the sun. Overall, we're looking at the Basecharge 1500, Basecharge 600, and the SolarPanel 100, a monocrystalline array that's just as mobile and free as the generators.

Let's start with the biggest and most expensive piece of equipment, the 1500. Now, I've seen mobile and electric generators before – I own an EcoWave Delta Pro, a 3.6 kWh unit – but unlike the Pro, the BaseCharge 1500 is small enough to be carried in your arms. A weight of 26.5 lb (12 kg) ensures you don't pull a back muscle or pinch a nerve. Oh, and it's called the 1500 for a reason, it provides 1,521 Wh of juice, or 1.5 kWh, a bit less than half the capacity of the Delta Pro.

Now, why should you care about this trinket? Because there are so many uses for something like this, even ones you've never even thought of. For example, you can see that there are DC power ports on this thing, and that's because it's strong enough to power a corded drill and even a circular saw, the latter, for up to 51 minutes.

BaseCharge Ecosystem
Photo: BioLite Inc.
That's just in-the-yard use. Once inside your home, you can use this bugger to recharge your phone up to 117 times on a full charge. Have a laptop? 22 times is what you can squeeze out of the 1500, and if you plan on using your blender, you can make 164 smoothies. Of course, these numbers will vary slightly because some devices require more juice than others. Best of all, it can even run your in-home fridge and an on-road electric cooler. Did I mention that the top is a wireless recharging pad? Yup.

Also important to note here are recharge times. Overall, the standard AC adapter will refuel you 1500 in 13.5 hours. But, with four "Daisy-Chained" SolarPanel 100s, 4 hours is all that you'll need to wait around for an 80% recharge. However, that's in peak sunlight, a state of recharging that's rather difficult to maintain. In all, $1,700 (€1,601 at current exchange rates) is all we need to dish out for this bugger.

The 600, on the other hand, is smaller and only boasts 622 Wh (0.622 kWh) of portable power. It's also selling for a more accessible $700 (€650). Features are similar here too, with the difference being that it has an output of 600 W, as opposed to 1,200 W from the 1500. This means 48 smartphone charges and no in-home fridge, but running a TV is possible, and it'll recharge your laptop nine times. For off-grid use, a cooler can be operated for up to 15 hours. This unit takes as little as 3.5 hours to recharge back up to 80%. With just one SolarPanel 100, 6 hours is how long you'll be waiting around.

That brings us to the other piece of the puzzle that BioLite has unveiled, the SolarPanel 100. Now, portable power generators aren't anything new, but what BioLite has done with the 100 is short of genius. For example, not only are these things portable and rather small, but they can crank to 100 W "in peak sunshine." Connecting four together, you're able to recharge with up to 400 W. Hence why it takes up to 4 hours to recharge the 1500 up to 80%. After 80%, battery mechanics take over, and software and hardware manage the recharge process so you don't damage your battery pack.

BaseCharge 1500 and SolarPanel 100 Array
Photo: BioLite Inc.
As for the 'short of genius' bit, it's all about the solution BioLite integrates into the 100. You ready? Guess what? There's a USB-C and USB-A "power station" that can be connected to the 100. It's a little pocket-sized device you can connect to the corresponding receptor, just plug in your smartphone or device charger and place it safely in the shade of the panel. The rest is in time's hands. I think it's one of the smartest moves to be done with a solar panel since MIT pulled out their "lighter than soap bubbles" solar cells. I wonder where we'll be in five years with this sort of tech. $400 (€375) a pop for these babies.

Finally, I want to bring something to light. When I started the article, I mentioned that this equipment has more uses than we can think of. Well, aside from home, camping, and some light portable work, a system like the BaseCharge can prove indispensable in a setting that our autoevolution team often encounters, the worry that our filming equipment will run out of power. To have a portable generator when flying around with a battery-powered drone or using other electrically-powered and mobile filming gear is a godsend, to say the least.

Throw one into your car or toss one into your camper. First-response units could use one, and our film crew could surely use something like this in the field. If we were to sit here and brainstorm for a few minutes or so, we could find so many more uses for a BaseCharge. If you're traveling off-grid, pair it up with a SolarPanel 100, and off you go. Heck, even use this ecosystem at home; no shame in a solar panel hanging out in your backyard.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery include both BaseCharge generators and SolarPanel 100.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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