A private rental scheme for private owners’ EV charge points is to be launched later this month, named Chargie.
The service, which is comparable to private accommodation rental app Airbnb, allows owners of home EV charge points to rent out the chargers to EV owners, who book the charger in advance. Users are already being registered, but the service is officially launched on 16 May.
The service currently operates from a website, but its founders are currently working on an app for launch within 3-4 months which is expected to further bolster registrations.
Rental prices are decided by the charge point owner, but the company adds its 10% service fee on top of this for registered EV charge point owners, or 20% for those who use the service to charge only. Chargie says that the cost to the homeowner is between £2 and £4 per charge.
Chargie claims to be the first private EV charger rental service in the UK, and could more than double the UK’s EV charger network, depending on the number of home EV charger owners who sign up.
The company hopes to help grow the uptake of EVs by increasing the charger network in this way; there are currently around 12,500 public charge points available in the UK, and the company hopes to grow this number to create a network of publicly available EV chargers considerably more than this, with a pool of around 100,000 plug-in cars on UK roads.
Chargie was set up by EV-owning husband and wife Jan Stannard and Jeremy Coulter; the idea was born after the couple found no local charging point near a holiday destination in the UK.
"We would like it to make a material difference to people’s EV experience. There needs to be the certainty of travelling to a destination with ample charging; certainty that there will be a charger in working order without being occupied or blocked by a petrol car. The booking element of Chargie provides the certainty.”
“Chargie is Jamaican patois for ‘close friend’ – we have the belief that people enjoy helping each other, but the service depends on the goodwill of the EV community; making sure the chargers are available, and that charges are not overpriced,” said Stannard.
Stannard said that since registrations began, patterns of potential users requesting use of the site with only a charge point but no EV of their own, as well as interest from non-home locations, such as pubs and restaurants, which could benefit from added custom by offering a place to charge, as well as something to do while the car is charging.