Product Test: Pocket-size jump pack

These things have been intriguing me for a while now. How can such a tiny battery start a hefty car engine? So, with German Classics magazine completed and some actual money in my bank account, I went on that there Ebay and purchased one of these jump packs for just £31.75. It was time for a proper review to test exactly what it could do.

Can this unbranded pack really start a car?

Can this unbranded pack really start a car?

It’s entirely unbranded and built in China – fast becoming the country to head to if you want cheap battery tech. It isn’t just a jump pack – there is a really powerful torch, and it comes with several different bundles of wires with which you can power everything from phones to laptops and even, as I discovered, a musical keyboard…

But obviously the key question is, can it start a car? You’ll have to check my video review to find out, but I tested the pack on an 847cc Perodua Nippa, a 1596cc Mazda 2 saloon and a 2088cc Citroen XM turbo diesel. Diesel engines are a challenge for any battery, as the engines use a compression ratio twice that of a petrol engine. They literally squeeze the air to the point that it gets hot enough to ignite the fuel without an external spark. They’re not very easy to turn therefore.

What truly amazes is not only how small these packs are, but how light. And that highlights exactly why electric vehicles (EV) have become viable at long last. My XM uses a huge, heavy lead-acid battery that requires serious effort to lift. If the Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model S used lead acid batteries, the packs would be simply enormous to get the same range. They’d probably have to tow another LEAF or Model S behind them packed full of batteries. I suspect performance would be impacted somewhat.

So these jump packs demonstrate just how far battery technology has come on. And now at such low price too! Sure, larger lead-acid battery packs may include air compressors to deal with a flat tyres, but those compressors (in my experience) usually break after very little time. So my mind is made up. The future is jump packs you can fit in your pocket. It’s the clearest sign yet of why the EV revolution has arrived in town.

 

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