British start-up company Co Charger has developed a platform that allows people who own electric vehicle (EV) chargers to share them with drivers who don’t.
Despite a £10 million recent investment in charging by the government, there are currently only some 30,000 public chargers on UK roads. Home charging can add to this number but, according to Co Charger, at least 40% of people live in terraced houses or flats where private chargers are difficult to install.
The firm’s proposed solution is to offer use of the UK’s 200,000 home chargers to “people living in flats and terraces where public charging isn’t an option”.
The app is said to be modelled on property rental service Airbnb. EV charger owners rent out their chargers to app users for a nominal fee, typically between £1 and £2 per hour, who in turn can browse local chargers and book via the app.
Before each session, the app sends a notification to the host. Payment is managed in-app. If the customer fails to turn up, the host can choose to charge them for the missed session.
Compatible with both iOS and Android, the app is available to download now for free and doesn't require a subscription to use. Co Charger takes 10% of hosts’ earnings to cover the cost of financial transactions.
Co Charger is currently available only in the UK, but the company aims to roll out the app internationally “over the next few years”. It's “already talking to contacts in some countries,” according to a spokesperson.
Co Charger is compatible with any kind of EV charger. However, the firm recommends hosts purchase Type 2 7.4kW chargers, because these are the most common and readily compatible with “almost all” electric cars.
Co Charger boss Joel Teague said: “You don't often get an idea that benefits everyone at the cost of no one, but that's what we have with Co Charger. Everyone benefits from environmental improvements, of course – but economically, it solves problems for a lot of sectors.
“Car companies can ensure no-one leaves a showroom with a fossil-fuel vehicle because they can't charge at home, and the money from being a Co Charger host is a strong EV sales tool when money is tight. Central and local governments get an immediate, free boost towards their environmental targets.”