One of the key issues affecting potential EV buyers is ‘range anxiety’. In short, with only 125-200 miles of range in an EV, how will you do a longer distance?
Well, now there is an innovative new solution, which makes you wonder why nobody thought of it before.
It is the EV charger-sharing network called Bookmycharge (previously Chargie).
What does Bookmycharge do?
Under the scheme, existing EV owners with outside EV charging points can sign up to the website, offering their charging point to other EV users. An EV owner can look them up on an app and ask to use the charging point. The EV charging point owner is able to vet the EV user (rejecting or accepting is perfectly acceptable) and then charge them a fee to use the charging point.
There are two price bands – “chargees” who offer their own chargers to Bookmycharge will be charged a 10% service charge by the company while those who don’t offer their own charging point will be charged 20% on top of the cost of the electricity. Overall, a four-hour charge would still only cost around £2 – £4, a sight cheaper than filling up at the petrol station to get home!
Born of range anxiety
According to the Bookmycharge website, “Bookmycharge was born of anxiety. The site’s founders, a happy couple awaiting delivery of their first electric car (EV), a BMW i3, were fretting during the manufacturing gestation period about how they would travel to see their good friends in a far distant town devoid of public charging points. There was no option of charging at the friends’ home (no vehicular access). How could they manage to travel around without risking a major domestic over a flat battery?”
The couple hit on the idea to call for other EV owners to share their charging points and ultimately allow people to charge their cars up wherever they go.
One of the upshots of the scheme is that it could encourage more people to use EVs by taking away the range anxiety that is known to hold so many people back from buying into them.
Speaking to Business Car Manager, co-founder Jan Stannard said, “Chargie will rely on the goodwill and kindness of fellow EV owners towards each other, and we think there is exactly that spirit out there.”
The kindness of strangers
After the success of Uber and Airbnb, entrepreneurs have seen a real potential in what is known as the ‘social economy’. The 100,000 plus UK EV users at present are enthusiasts for the benefits of EVs and there is a collegiate feeling among them. As a result, there is every reason to believe that Chargie should be a success.
If it takes off in the UK, the company plans to extend it out to Europe and the United States. That would be no bad thing for EV users around the world!
By Richard Shrubb