Anker’s new battery can charge your phone, Tesla Model S, or phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range
Battery woes and range anxiety are a fact of life in the modern age. If you own a modern smartphone, chances are you’ve run short of battery power at least occasionally and had to scrabble for an outlet at an inconvenient time. Anker, the manufacturer for a wide range of battery products and chargers, knows your pain and wants to sell you a battery that’s pretty much guaranteed to handle anything up to and including your next backpacking trip across the Sahara, zombie apocalypse, or run-in with a Terminator sent to kill you and your mother.
The upcoming Anker PowerHouse is listed as a 434Wh battery (multiple sites are reporting that its also a 120,600mAh battery, though I’m uncertain where that figure is derived from, as it isn’t listed anywhere in the product literature). It’s compatible with USB, 12V car adapters, and a conventional three-prong cable, and can reportedly charge a phone up to 40x, a laptop up to 15x (only if that laptop has a smallish battery), run a mini-fridge for up to seven hours, or a 15V light for over a hundred hours.
Evaluated strictly as a mobile phone charging solution, it’s not actually that great — you could buy yourself six 20,000mAh Anker battery packs and spend $240 compared to this beast’s $500 base price ($400 now if you preorder). The practical use cases for the Anker, zombie apocalypse jokes notwithstanding, are situations where you need significant portable power for limited periods of time. If you suffer from sleep apnea and require a CPAP machine, for example, a device like this could make camping much easier. Anyone who lives in an area where power outages are frequent could also benefit.
Anker has said it’ll release a solar charging system for the battery that can bring it back to full charge in 16 hours (it takes roughly 10 hours to charge it from a wall socket). That raises the question of whether or not it could be used for certain tasks off-grid for significant lengths of time — since 16 hours of solar charging doesn’t necessarily mean “16 hours across a single day” but could easily mean “16 hours of peak solar power.” The Anker isn’t exactly competition for Tesla’s PowerWall, but this kind of extended battery has a number of use-cases that would make it a feasible purchase as costs come down. With companies like Tesla pushing lithium-ion battery production upwards at a steady clip, we should still see year-on-year improvements to battery pricing — even if capacity improvements tend to come more slowly than we’d like.