Zaptec charges ahead

The company’s innovative chargers are solving problems and winning awards

Photo: The ZapCharger allows Norwegians to charge their Teslas in eight hours instead of 24.

The ZapCharger allows Norwegians to charge their Teslas in eight hours instead of 24.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

The start-up Zaptec won Rogaland’s Innovation Award for 2015 for the development of the company’s groundbreaking power technology: its vast potential for application impressed the jury. Zaptec develops and manufactures extremely compact, efficient, and lightweight switch mode transformers and power supplies.

The company was only established in 2012, but its founders have been working for a decade with miniature power electronics. This has resulted in a unique high-voltage transformer technology with several applications. Their transformer was originally developed for oil drilling. The company has their head office in Stavanger, a district office in Oslo, and ten employees.

Their product, the ZapCharger, is a super compact transformer technology which is 1/10 the size and uses 1/100 the amount of copper and iron of traditional transformers. A frequently asked question in Norway about charging an electric car is if it is necessary to have a built-in transformer. The answer is yes, if you have the special Norwegian electric system (IT-net) at your charging location and want to boost your charging power. Zaptec’s technology ensures fast and reliable charging of cars that are sensitive to grounding issues and to the Norwegian system.

The Renault electric car had a challenge. About 70 percent of the Norwegian electricity net couldn’t handle the make. The solution was a cable developed by Zaptec. The company likes to call it a portable charge station. Actually it is the first charging cable in the world with a built-in electronic transformer. Now all Renault’s electrical cars will be equipped with the cable. The recent agreement between the automobile company and Zaptec might also have an international potential.

Zaptec has been working with space-related projects for several years, and one of the company’s main projects is the mission of searching for signs of life on Mars by drilling deep to map the geology and find liquid water. The company’s technology is a significant step in the development of drilling modules for space operations. The aim is to drill hundreds of meters with a total equipment weight of less than one ton and extremely low energy needs.

At the Front End of Innovation 2015 conference, the American Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) and Zaptec signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Together they will explore how their super-compact and efficient transformer technology can be used to power infrastructure and plasma drilling technology, to extract water from lunar ice and refine it into fuel on the moon. In this case, the sky isn’t even the limit!

This article originally appeared in the April 17, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.