Toward the end of summer 2015, I contacted SFC to discuss their latest addition to the family, EFOY GO!. I had already seen the compact power-pack at shows, read online reports and followed their page on Facebook. All the facts and features pointed toward a useful piece of gear but my expectations were high. I should point out at this stage that one of my vehicles of choice is a patina-laden 1963 Series 2A Land Rover Station Wagon — a vehicle that is largely devoid of the comforts you expect to find listed under standard equipment in sales brochures of more modern counterparts. No aircon, no … in fact, nothing. Four-wheel drive, high and low ratio gearbox, brakes that make you think well ahead, steering that ensures you remain alert at all times and ample space for people and gear, all housed in the unmistakeable boxy body with its close set headlamps. But that’s what I look for: ‘if you haven’t got it, it can’t go wrong technology’ that has taken our forefathers to every corner of the globe and delivered them home safely again. Speed is not the essence of getting me to my destination, rather the journey itself and venturing away from the populated regions. With that in mind, my curiosity into the hands-on performance and practicality of the EFOY GO! was kindled.
With a trip planned to Sicily during the early autumn when temperatures still easily soar above the 30°C mark, running a fridge is paramount to keeping food fresh and beer cold. Not to mention supporting a small array of electronic equipment. As far as on-board electronics are concerned the Land Rover is fitted with a powerful OPTIMA battery for the sole purpose of reliable starting and satisfying the minimalistic demands the vehicle presents. A dedicated and independent domestic circuit to power creature comforts without resorting to the vehicle’s electronics was still in the planning at the time and the installation wasn’t planned until mid 2016. Consequently, the EFOY GO! was a welcome companion for the long drive from Cologne to Bari where I met my family two and half days after my departure, before our journey across Italy, the Strait of Messina and onward to the south coast of Sicily.
The tasks expected of the GO! on this trip were clear: it had to run the Webasto compressor fridge (posing the biggest drain on reserves), the iPad tracking apps which ran all day, my GPS navigation, and maintain a full charge for my phone in case of emergencies – nothing out of the ordinary for a more modern vehicle. But things become more challenging when you are travelling in something found out of a history book and without the option to recharge the GO! via a mains supply. Stopping overnight on camping sites was not part of my plan, so the capacity was put to the test and, by manipulating the consumption of the fridge (by ensuring gaps between the contents were filled and turning it off during a very cold night in the Alps), I was able to stretch the lithium cell for three days.
So, what’s in the box? A user manual, a mains power adapter, a 12V car adapter and the EFOY GO! Essentially, the pleasantly designed and robust plastic case is packed with the latest lithium technology and an inverter. On the front panel there are:
- a 230V socket for use with accessories of up to a maximum of 400W
- a 12V socket
- two USB sockets
- Power in for the supplied 230/12V adapter
- Power in for an EFOY fuel cell
- On/off switch for the 230V socket
- On/off switch for the 12V socket and USBs
- LEDs to monitor the charge status of the battery
Other than that, the GO! is truly plug-and-play as well as being an absolutely silent and emission-free solution. (Silent, that is, except when charging from a mains supply and the cooling fan switches on — now that might be cause for concern, but, let’s be honest, you’re unlikely to use it as a pillow, so if you are charging at night, keep it at a precautionary distance for undisturbed sleep.)
How did the EFOY GO! influence my travel during the six thousand km tour? Well, as I think I have made apparent, my vehicle was sparsely equipped, making the EFOY GO! an ideal accessory. Weighing just 5.8 kgs (12.8 lbs) and measuring a mere 28.6 x 18.6 x 20.1 cms, the unit is compact making it easy to stow in any car, truck or boat. The GO! is portable power and I wouldn’t want to miss it on a future trip because it is a valuable backup and great for recharging appliances or providing power even outside the car without the need for extension leads for people to trip over.
Price: Some people may baulk at the manufacturer’s recommended retail price of €899 (including VAT and shipping), but don’t forget, this is technically refined and dependable equipment made in Germany which could, in a worst case scenario, be your last resort for supporting your comms in an emergency. Speaking from experience, I actually had to use the GO! to supply power (via a charger) to keep me going when Larry’s alternator packed up on a trip at two in the morning … yes, I was really happy to have extra power on board!
In a nutshell: the EFOY GO! is a practical, safe, easy to use portable power source for 230V, 12V and USB, fulfilling all the manufacturer’s claims and representing excellent value for money. Whether you require highly portable power-to-go for professional or recreational purposes, you are going to have to look long and hard for a comparable alternative.
Visit the manufacturer’s website for more information and a list of retailers: www.efoy-go.com