There has been a lot of cordless power tool innovations in recent years. 6.0Ah battery packs, a new Milwaukee M18 High Demand 9.0Ah battery, 36V and 40V Max lawn and garden outdoor power tools, a double 36V Bosch mower), wireless battery charging, and Dewalt Buetooth-equipped batteries.
What could tool brands possibly come out with next?
And the answer: a mobile battery power unit, model GEN 230V-1500 (that’s the EU model number).
This impressive Bosch mobile power unit features a 1,650 Watt-hour peak output, and constant power output rating of 1,500 watts.
It’s basically like a generator, but runs your corded tools using battery power instead of the energy coming from a gasoline engine.
Runtime is said to be 1 hour and 39 minutes with a 1,000 watt load at 230V, and double that for a 500 watt load.
In Bosch’s international press release, they mention how it can recharge a 36V 9.0Ah battery pack up to 4 times, and a 36V 6.0Ah battery pack up to 6 times. It can power a corded electric demolition hammer for “at least 90 minutes.”
That should give you an idea about the kinds of applications it was designed for – recharging hefty outdoor power tool batteries and running heavier equipment.
You certainly could use it to recharge your lower-voltage power tool battery packs as well. But, for the price of what this costs, you’d probably be better off buying a bunch of extra battery packs. Scratch that – you would definitely be better off just buying additional lower voltage battery packs than one of these units. But don’t let me tell you how to spend your money or use your stuff.
What’s even more impressive is that the mobile charging unit is itself fully recharged in 3-1/2 hours. In other words, overnight. There’s a battery charge indicator, and an LCD display gives you remaining runtime information. Presumably, they offer a runtime number – in approximate time – that’s calculated using the real-time power draw.
The Bosch mobile power unit features lithium iron phosphate battery technology. Given how it can recharge a 36V 6.0Ah battery up to 6 times, a simplified way of thinking about the battery is to consider that it’s got around the same power capacity as an 18V (or 20V Max) 72.0Ah battery pack. 36V x 6.0Ah x 6, or 36V x 9.0Ah x 4, equals 1296 Watt hours.
Keeping in mind that charging a battery pack results in some wasted energy, so let’s consider the 1000W (at 230V) output and 1 hr 39 minute runtime rating. So that’s 99 minutes x 1,000 watts x 1 hr/60 minutes = 1,650 Watt hours. Okay, adds up.
So, if this was a single 18V Li-ion battery pack with 1,650 Watt hour output, the Ah, or amp-hour rating would be nearly 92 Ah (91.67 Ah to be more precise). But you’re not going to see the equivalent of 92Ah, which would be around (18) 18V x 5.0Ah battery packs plus (1) 2.0Ah pack. Due to the energy losses, it’s safer to consider this to be comparable to an 18V 72.0Ah battery pack, or (14) 5.0Ah battery packs plus (1) 2.0Ah battery.
Makes sense? Just thinking aloud here – please correct me if I’m wrong.
Bosch equipped the mobile power unit with (2) outlets, and it’s weatherproof to IP54 standards.
At 50.4 x 32 x 43.6 cm (~19.8″ x 12.6″ x 17.8″) in size, it’s not small, and at 42 kg (~92.6 lbs), it’s not light. It’s also not inexpensive.
Price: 2349 euros (~$2654 USD), 149 euros (~$168 USD) for the metal-framed travel cart
ETA: Feb 2016 in Europe
This is not the first time we’ve seen batteries being used to power corded AC power tools. You know what I mean – with modern cordless battery technology. Recently, Dewalt came out with a (rebranded) cordless welder that uses a special battery power pack to run a portable welder.
Something like this was completely unexpected, but I can see how it would appeal to certain types of users.
With growing interest in cordless outdoor power tools, and cordless tools in general, it makes sense for Bosch to have come out with a solution for recharging all those big cordless power tool packs in the field.
For the tools where it doesn’t make as much sense to buy additional battery packs, perhaps such as with 36V Li-ion batteries, what are your field-recharging options? There are gasoline generators, and I’m not sure what else.
Does it really make sense to buy into a cordless outdoor power tool only to have to recharge your spare battery or batteries with a gasoline generator? Work with one battery or set of batteries, and recharge your spare(s) in the meantime. You’d probably want to use Bosch’s rapid battery charger, which has yet to be announced for the USA. Thus far it’s only available in Europe.
Lithium iron phosphate battery cells, according to quick online research, have a nominal voltage of 3.2V. The Li-ion cells used in cordless power tool battery packs have a nominal voltage of 3.6V. Either this features larger sized battery cells, or a whole lot of 3.2V cells packaged in series and parallel.
Given that Bosch has a strong foot in the automotive parts industry, perhaps this was developed as a joint effort. After all, we know that new Bosch ReaXX table saw, which features flesh-detection and injury-prevention technology, is engineered with technology they say was developed by Bosch’s automotive airbag division.
While this mobile power unit is something I could never justify for my own use, it might be a window into the future. Power tool brands keep boasting about how their new cordless innovations offer corded-like performance. Perhaps it won’t be long before those same high capacity battery packs can power our corded tools in the same way as this mobile power unit, but in a modular sense.