Until electric vehicles have better range, the tech industry is rushing to improve charging infrastructures across the world. While stations are being built, some startups have tapped into the peer-to-peer market to make use of the many who have home charging setups for their EVs. Peer-to-peer charging isn't new to Europe, but thanks to German startup eMotorWerks, it's finally coming here to the United States. The lucky first state to try it out? California, of course.
This beta test will allow residents to set up their home as an impromptu charging station. They would upload their rate and times on the “Share&Charge” network that is accessed through a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet.
How does this work? It's a pretty simple process. First, to set up a home station, people will need the company’s JuiceBox charging station or a JuicePlug adapter. The adapter allows you to put any home charging station on the network for potential customers to access it. It was crowdfunded on Kickstarter successfully for over $50,000 in 2016. While the unit cost $129 to get, a $50 rebate was given out to those that signed up for the company’s rewards program.
Since any charging station can be used, the process is similar to Airbnb or Uber, but eMotorWerks will not be taking any percentage of pay between the transaction of EV owner to charging host. Instead, they’ll rely on making money from the amount of people that buy their JuiceNet products. The company expects this method to be more attractive for the hosts and customers.
The growth of peer-to-peer services has skyrocketed over the last few years. People have generally been very protective of their cars and homes, but they’ve seen the potential to make money off of rooms and vehicle that aren’t in use. It’s making it easier to accept a stranger pulling into a random person’s driveway and filling up their EV.
This isn’t the first time a peer-to-peer network has been explored to answer the electric charging crisis. For example, two European entrepreneurs funded a startup, Chargie, to solve the lack of stations where they traveled in the United Kingdom. It provides a similar service and was fully launched on May 16th.
All of this will likely remain in a niche market. California is an ideal test market that could thrive from a service like this. eMotorWerks CEO Val Miftakhov tells GreenTech Media that customers who spend over $1,000 on EV charging annually could be able to zero that amount by selling their service. He also explains that the “psychological barrier” of helping strangers is being replaced by the willingness to “help fellow drivers...reduce range anxiety.”
With technological advancements being made in batteries, this blockchain system for charging electric vehicles may be on limited time. However, it does provide answers for today’s range-starved vehicles. The freedom of use and the company deciding not to take a pay cut on each transaction also makes the service attractive.