Tech Review: FuelRod Battery Swaps

Not all planes have a power source, so if you travel a lot, you might appreciate this service. FuelRod allows you to make a one-time purchase of a (charged) portable battery with cords, and at a future time you can exchange the battery at any kiosk for a charged one, at no cost.  It’s perfect when your on the go.

Fuel Cell chargingYou only get the cords on the initial purchase. They include a 6″ USB to micro USB, with adapters for Apple’s lightning and 30-pin connectors.

Battery Charge

When charging the device, it has a convenient red/charging and green/complete indicator light. It does not indicate its level of charge. A full battery charged my iPhone 6s in 90 minutes (with screen and WiFi off), from a 34% battery level.

Fuel Cell EndThe website currently claims 8 hours of phone talk time and 4 hours for tablets. Personally, the charge time means more to me, as I know my own phone’s capability from that point.

Locations

The search engine for locations only allows for searches by city name or zip code. This might be handy for vacations and conventions, but I’d like to see a revised search engine that can give a national list of airports as well. Air travelers can be in 2-4 airports in one day, so an airport search would be handy.

Here are the airport locations with FuelRod kiosks that I found as of February 2016:

FuelRod Locations

Background

The co-founders of Tricopian (dba FuelRod) are Chi Yau (CEO) and  Joe Yeagley (COO).  In October 2015, they were fundraising for $2 million and have three patent applications.

Conclusion

Will I replace my HooToo with a FuelRod?  No – they don’t compare.  Will I keep the FuelRod in my travel case? Yes indeed.  It’s smaller and I’ve used it as a secondary backup more than once.  It may even come in handy when a quick swap is needed if I ever see a kiosk again.

The initial cost seems a bit high, but I love supporting innovative start-ups, and I do think it’s a clever service if they can grow fast enough. Otherwise, it’s hard to justify the purchase price if the swap option isn’t readily available.

On its own as a charger (without more kiosks), I can’t recommend FuelRod as it is priced just a couple dollars less than the HooToo.

However, think about the challenges for a startup.  If we don’t buy their product now, they can’t grow into the future. So if you like the business premise, consider supporting FuelRod’s vision when you see a kiosk.

Fuel Rod Kiosk REV

Have you supported any other startups or Kickstarter-type projects?

 

Photos by Julia Hunter and screenshots from www.fuel-rod.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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