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Fund this: Kraftwerk mobile charger puts a power plant in your pocket

It may look like a typical battery pack, but this little fuel cell can recharge an iPhone up to 11 times. There's just one problem.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

eZelleron Inc.

With most mobile chargers, you're lucky to be able to recharge your phone two or three times before the charger itself needs recharging. And to do that, you need to find an AC outlet, fish out your AC adapter and cable, then wait a couple hours.

Kraftwerk is a mobile charger that solves both these issues. It can juice an iPhone up to 11 times, and "recharging" it is as simple as adding more gas. Yep, this is a fuel cell for your pocket.

If you're thinking you've seen similar products in the past, you're only half right. About a year ago, Brookstone announced plans to introduce a hydrogen-powered mobile charger, the Upp. But it relied on interchangeable cartridges and a subscription service to replace them for you. Plus, the charger and cartridge together weighed about 1.3 pounds.

The Kraftwerk, which measures roughly 3.9 inches by 2.9 inches by 1.2 inches and weighs just 7 ounces, relies on the same kind of gas used for camping, lighters and so on. So, to "recharge" the cell, you just insert the tip of a $3-$5 Zippo butane fuel cartridge or something similar.

Needless to say, if you plan to be away from AC outlets for an extended period, like on a camping trip or visit to an undeveloped country, the Kraftwerk would be an ideal companion. But it should also appeal to frequent travelers who simply want fewer cords to manage and fewer stops to recharge their charger.

And the proof is in the backing: This Kickstarter project has already surpassed its $500,000 fundraising goal, with nearly $630,000 raised at press time and nearly 50 days left to go.

If that seems like a long time, consider this: Kraftwerk's first 3,000 backers are looking at a ship date of December 2015, and folks further down the line will have to wait until early 2016.

Assuming you're willing to be patient that long, the charger is expected have a retail price of $149, but there are still some early-bird units available for $99. Hit the comments and share your thoughts on whether you think this is a worthy investment.