Cottage industry

charging for EVs

Charging an electric car

THERE is a new type of driver stress and it only affects those behind the wheel of all-electric cars.

It is called range anxiety and is causing some grey hairs and worried frowns.

The problem with electric cars is that their batteries are hardly up to the 400-mile plus range of a diesel model and charging points are not exactly thick on the ground, especially in rural areas.

But in true British style, the problem has sparked off a cottage industry.

Now electric vehicle (EV) drivers can visit the Chargie website to book a charge at domestic chargepoints across the UK.

Chargie is 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 electric vehicle owners signed-up to the service.

Opening for UK chargepoint registrations at the start of May, the service already has more than 60 chargepoints across the country.

Chargepoint owners are steadily adding new locations to the map, with a relatively even distribution of chargers to suit different types of EV.

Since the launch EV drivers from around the world have contacted Chargie to ask if the service could be expanded to cover their countries, including the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and South Africa.

The Chargie team is now starting to work on making the service functional outside the UK.

One homeowner from Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria was quick to embrace the Chargie idea and living at the finishing point of walks across Morecambe Bay he now allows travellers to leave their EV car charging with him while they spend the day walking.

Though Chargie was designed to focus on home chargepoints, there has been an unexpectedly positive response from B&B and hotel owners, who see that having bookable charging at their locations will appeal to EV travellers either as a lunch stop or as a destination.

Investors can also see the potential of the Chargie service as the population of EVs grows and public charging points remain relatively scarce in many areas, creating ‘range anxiety'.

The founders of Chargie have already received several approaches from potential investors and are now in discussions about possible investment.

Chargie co-founder Jan Stannard said: "Chargie will start to change the way EV drivers think about charging options. At the moment, they think about ‘home' charging and ‘pit-stop' charging at a motorway or similar public chargepoint. With Chargie, they have ‘stop-off' and ‘destination' charging, with the advantage of a formalised booking system and a charge you can rely on while you shop, attend a meeting, or charge overnight when on holiday."

The way Chargie works is simple. The EV owner wanting to charge their car finds an exterior-wall-mounted chargepoint on the Chargie website and sends a booking request to the owner. The owner 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.

The chargepoint owner specifies their per-charge cost when they register on Chargie and 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 chargepoint owners can specify when their units are available.

Sounds good, but it is amazing how history repeats itself. This idea has definite similarities to whatwas going oncenturies ago when it was the custom to payvillagers and staging points to water and feed your horse.

Sometimes the old ideas are the best.

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