This week sees the launch of Chargie, the world’s first dedicated and bookable peer-to-peer electric vehicle charging service, which will enable EV drivers to access the domestic, wall-mounted chargepoints of other EV owners signed-up to the Chargie service.
The introduction of Chargie could see EV owners gain access to domestic chargepoints already installed at homes across the UK. This will make EVs a viable proposition for greater numbers of motorists, including those travelling longer distances and to destinations in areas with no public chargepoints.
The way Chargie works is simple, sharing several characteristics with Airbnb’s web-based hospitality marketplace. The EV owner wanting to charge their car finds a domestic, exterior-wall-mounted chargepoint on the Chargie website and sends a booking request to the homeowner. The homeowner can then review the profile of the person making the booking before accepting or declining it. Once the booking is accepted, the user pays via Chargie and the system contacts both parties to confirm details.
Ahead of its official launch to EV users on 16 May 2017, Chargie is currently seeking chargepoint owners to register with the service.
A charge typically costs the homeowner around £2.00 to £4.00 depending on their tariff, though they can specify their own per-charge cost when they register on bookmycharge.com. Chargie adds a small service fee, which is halved if the person has already put their own chargepoint on the network. Registration and search are free, and householders are able to specify when their own units are available.
The founders of Chargie are a couple from Maidenhead, Jan Stannard and husband Jeremy Coulter, who came up with the concept after realising there was wasn’t a public charging point anywhere near their UK holiday destination. They turned their disappointment into a world first for the EV community.
“We want Chargie to help make electric cars the dominant form of transport in the UK, not just for short local runs, which is how many electric cars are currently used,” explains Chargie Director, Stannard. “For that to happen you need to be able to go a distance and know for sure that you can charge at the other end. At the moment, that’s simply not possible. Other than major cities and motorway service stations, most areas of the UK still have no meaningful charging infrastructure.
“But the UK does have nearly 100,000 people with plug-in cars, and by 2027 1.3 million electric vehicles are expected to be registered each year, according to government-backed figures. We believe that many owners who have a professionally-fitted charging units on the exterior of their homes will be happy to let fellow EV drivers plug in when the unit isn’t being used, provided they can recoup the cost.”
The couple are passionate about helping increase the uptake and use of electric cars and have used their own money to develop the Chargie concept, brand and online infrastructure.
“Chargie will rely on the goodwill and kindness of fellow EV owners towards each other, and we think there is exactly that spirit out there,” says Stannard. “While the Chargie network grows, our team will use social media to help would-be users to find a unit at their destination. The next step is to develop a Chargie app and to make Chargie international as soon as possible.”