It was cold, it was dark and that loud thump THUMP made it fairly obvious that Ronald Durando's Porsche had a flat tire. As an experienced Porsche driver, and a prepared one at that, Ron wasn't worried. Not only did he know how to change a flat tire, he was prepared for almost all contingencies with an emergency repair kit, including a flashlight for the dark conditions. Unfortunately, all the preparation in the world doesn't help when your flashlight's batteries have gone dead from sitting too long.
Frustrated from his encounter with the dead batteries in his flashlight Ron decided then and there to come up with a better solution. Fortunately, as the co-founder of mPhase Technologies (a publicly traded company that manufactures and designs the batteries of the future, today) he was in a unique position to make good on his promise.
As a Porsche owner and enthusiast Ron was familiar with products from the legendary Porsche Design Studio. Confident in his company's unique battery technology Ron fired off a "cold" email to Porsche Design in an effort to gauge their interest in creating a product together. According to Ron, "one thing led to another and we now have a co-branding agreement with Porsche Design for this very unusual flashlight". Quite an understatement when you consider the technology and design of the Emergency Illuminator.
What is the mPower Emergency Illuminator?
First and foremost, it's a flashlight. However, calling the Emergency Illuminator a flashlight is like calling your Porsche a car. It's accurate, but it doesn't do it the justice it deserves. Seriously, what "flashlight" do you know of that can sit left alone on a shelf (or in your glovebox) for 20+ years and still be ready to light the way the at the very moment you need it? As if that weren't enough, the Emergency Illuminator has a built in USB port that allows you to charge any number of devices in the event of a power failure of other emergency.
mPower On Command™ Reserve Battery
At the heart of the mPower Emergency Illuminator is a revolutionary battery with a shelf life of at least 20 years prior to manual activation. Unlike conventional batteries, the mPower On Command Reserve Battery provides the full capacity of its charge decades into the future without deterioration or corrosion. In other words, when you need light, the Illuminator will deliver.
How does it work?
While we could try to explain the technology, it's probably easier to simply watch the video below.
PorschePurist's Review of the mPower Emergency Illuminator
When we first saw the Illuminator we knew we had to have one. When mPower offered to send us one of the first lights to roll off the production line in Austria to review, we jumped at the chance.
As sophisticated as the technology found in the mPower's unique reserve battery is, getting the light working is incredibly simple. Included in the shipping and storage box is everything you need.
Porsche Design's influence is evident the moment you open the box. The sturdy carrying case cradles the Emergency Illuminator in a foam surround that protects it both in transport and in storage. Out of the box, the matte black finish and sleek design of the two tube handle makes this light a piece of functional art. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the light's small size and sophisticated design.
However, after simply unscrewing a machined cap at the end of one of the two tubes (that make up the light's handle) and inserting the supplied CR-123 batteries,
I saw the light I was converted.
An aluminum collar on the handle of the light is used to move between the off position, on and USB charging (more on this later). The intensity of the beam emitted by the Emergency Illuminator is nothing short of, well, illuminating. From such a small package, the LED throws a fixed width (as opposed to adjustable like the Mag) bright, white light that cuts through the darkness easily.
Additionally, the unique Porsche Designed case allows you to stand the light straight up (allowing you to illuminate an entire room, as if with a lamp, when the power is out) or to lie it on the ground and illuminate an object in from of you (say changing a tire in the dark) without having to worry about it rolling away as my Mag light so often does.
Due to its size and sleek, matte finish, I was originally concerned with the Emergency Illuminator's durability. However, the light is actually quite rugged and water resistant. The body is made from extruded aluminum and most other parts are machined aluminum. In other words, if you drop it, it will take the impact.
USB Charging Capability
Besides the innovative On Command Reserve battery, the other unique feature that sets the Emergency Illuminator apart from any other flashlight currently on the market is its unique ability to charge a myriad of portable electronic devices via its built in USB port. By simply moving the aluminum selector ring from “ON” to the “USB” position I was able to easily plug in my iPhone and bring its completely drained battery back to life using the supplied CR-123 batteries. According to the product literature, in an emergency situation, the On Command Reserve Battery will provide power for up to two hours of continuous light as well as charging ability to make and receive calls or your cell phone.
What to consider when purchasing the Emergency Illuminator
- unique battery technology with a shelf life of 20+ years
- USB port to charge portable devices in an emergency situation
- small, compact yet powerful and rugged
- high intensity, clean white light
Items to note:
- two tube handle makes for an awkward hand grip (this bothered me for quite some time until I realized the design is best suited for emergency situations where you will most likely be standing the light up straight or lying it on the side vs holding it your hand for long periods of time. Once I realized that I decided it's not really an issue but would be remiss if I didn't mention it)
- available glove box bracket not included in price
- no Porsche Design branding on the light itself
Price of the Emergency Illuminator and where to buy one
Like a lot of products developed in conjunction with Porsche Design, the Emergency Illuminator is not inexpensive. However, at $289 you’re not simply buying a status symbol from a renowned Design House. Instead, you’re buying a rugged emergency device that provides peace of mind and security!
What is it worth to know that the next time you need a light in an emergency situation, no matter how long ago you checked the batteries, that you’ll have one? Hopefully, you’ll never need to find out, but if you do and you have the Emergency Illuminator, you can rest assured that you won't be left in the dark.
If you're interested in owning one of these lights (as we are) to either put in your Porsche, or for your home, they can be purchased directly from the manufacturer. mPower's web-site offers much more information on the product as well as the Amazon.com checkout feature for added security.
For Additional Information
Related Porsche Design Product Reviews
[Source: mPower and mPhase]