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Dec 21, 2018

Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd’s Tim Smerdon talks about the brand and their plans for future development

Tim Smerdon, Director of Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd, talks to Mark Hayhurst about the brand and their plans for future development

Solar power is one of the most effective and efficient renewable energy sources and so it’s no surprise that it is now used in many fields. Solar mobile chargers use the power of sun in order to charge mobile phones.

When the photons within the photosensitive cells are exposed to sunlight, they are converted into electrical current. Solar mobile chargers are effective, versatile and offer an uninterrupted power supply, even during power outages and Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd are at the forefront of this technology in the outdoor market.

Can you tell us the history of the company?

I had worked with the Women’s Groups in Uganda many years ago and we crossed the Sahara in an old Peugeot when our kids were young. I realised that a small amount of power can go a long way, particularly with the advent of smartphones. We started in 2013 and have seen significant development in both batteries and solar, which has certainly been needed since our phones now require much more power and a daily charge.

How is your company developing and growing?

We have concentrated on fit for purpose portable power, flexible enough for everyday life, as smartphones have become such important accessories. We have continued to power expeditions in very hostile environments, such as the Ice Maiden Antarctic expedition. This saw six British women become the first all-female team to use muscle power alone to ski coast to coast, at -30C for ten weeks, across the Antarctic this year.

Have there been any recent developments that have changed your company’s profile?

After the Nepalese Earthquake, we designed and built the Solar Charging Can for use in Disaster Relief, a robust portable power station for communications, lights, medical clinics and charging of phones, Tablets etc.

What inspires you to create new products, how do you develop them and bring them to the market?

There have been industry developments in solar and batteries, significantly increasing their efficiency and reducing weight and the wider use of Wireless Charging for portable devices. We do also get asked to find a power solution for some quite extreme adventures, such as a couple who wanted to cycle on £20 bikes from the UK to Japan to visit the mother in law.

What can we expect from your company in the next 12 months?

We will continue to develop our range of products, particularly the lighter ones for extreme runners and sportsmen. We would also very much like to get the Solar Can out to where it is needed, such as refugee camps.

How has the market changed in the last five years?

There has become a far wider understanding of the benefits of portable power and solar to keep your ‘mobile mobile’. Unfortunately, there is still not enough knowledge of these products to discern the good from the bad on platforms such as Amazon and Ebay. Generally, with portable batteries you very much get what you pay for, two similar looking products are often not the same and just because the listing says it has a 20,000mAh battery it is often not accurate.

What do you feel has been the company’s greatest success?

A number of the small expeditions we have powered, such as Hanifa Yousoufi, the first Afghan female climber (where none had existed in the past) to summit her country’s tallest peak, Mt Noshaq. Against all odds, in a very hostile environment, a very significant expedition which was far greater than the sum of its parts. Yousoufi was part of an expedition put together by a non-profit called Ascend Athletics, which empowers women through training in climbing and leadership skills.

To what do you attribute your success?

We have been lucky be able to test our products in extreme environments and get the feedback from our customers and learn from it. We are certainly not infallible, but do now have five years experience in this field.

What advice would you offer to retailers?

Be honest about your products specifications and capabilities and do not assume that they know what product is most suitable for their needs.

What trends do you predict will be popular in the coming year?

I would like to see a reduction in the use of disposable batteries (torches). A mix of solar, power banks and USB LED lights/torches, means that it is easy enough to be power independent for your tech, without dumping batteries in landfill.

What are you currently working on? New launches, etc?

We are continuing to develop our range of ultra light CIGS folding solar panels, QC and wireless power banks and the Solar Charging Can.

How can a new customer open an account?

All our products are available on our website,www. mobilesolarchargers.co.uk, you do not need an account.

How important is social media to you?

We are aware that we should probably use social media more, but have time constraints.

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