European Startup Adds EV Charge Points Through Peer-to-Peer Networking

12 months ago

As the electric vehicle (EV) market continues to expand, so does the need for charging stations. EVs don’t yet have a lengthy use range after being filled up to 100 percent. European entrepreneurs Jan Stannard and Jeremy Coulter are in the process of opening up a new company that will give EV owners a peer-to-peer network that will increase the number of place they can charge their car.

The new startup is called Chargie, and it adopts a similar approach to Uber and AirBnB. Those that have a charging station at home can upload their information on the service. Prices will be set by those owners. This allows potential customers to schedule a specific time with the charge point owners and they’ll be able to fuel up their car.

Still in its infant stages, the service will be fully launched on May 16th of this year. Anyone can sign up early to register their home as a charge point on their official home page. Currently, all business can only be done on the website, but Jimi Beckwith of Autocar reports that the company is “working on an app for launch within 3-4 months.”

At the moment, Chargie will only be serviceable in the United Kingdom. The idea was established by Stannard and Coulter as the couple wanted to bring their EV on a holiday trip but couldn’t find any local charging stations. Stannard said in the Autocar report that, “Chargie is Jamaican patois for ‘close friend,” and hopes people on the network will help each other out when it comes to keeping their electric cars fueled.

There are massive benefits to this service as it grows. Drivers would be less worried about needing to plan specific routes that feature traditional charging stations. It would allow for longer periods of travel and much more efficiency with their vehicles.

Unfortunately, long-distance traveling isn’t a common occurrence. It brings up the question of how useful this service would be and would it be worth home charge point owners to keep their status up to date? The process of charging cars could also take a significant amount of time. Home chargers vary when compared to the traditional stations continuing to update their technology. There’s also the addition of fees when using the service.

With AirBnB, that gives travelers additional options to stay at a destination without settling with the high rates of hotels. They generally can save tons of money doing this, which wouldn’t be an advantage of these stations. Prices vary, but some EV fueling stations, like ChargePoint, can offer the service for free. Others, like eVgo and Aerovironment (AV), can offer monthly fees between $20 and $40.

In the short term, Chargie looks to be a useful service for areas that don’t have many charge points. It’s unknown whether or not something like this will be coming stateside, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this, or a similar program, come to rural areas in the near future.

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