Various schemes are being trialled to solve the issue around access to charging at home. From pop-up chargers, kerbside and lamp post charging, through to simply expanding the available public network and schemes like GRIDSERVE’s Electric Forecourts, there are myriad work-arounds. But Co Charger thinks it has a ready-made answer through community charging.
The premise is simple; link a person, business or community building that has an off-street charger with someone, or a group, who doesn’t. It’s a simple, yet elegant solution to something that could become a crunch point before the 2030 petrol and diesel ban, especially as things like building regulations for new homes and retrofitting old ones will take time to catch up.
Co Charger’s platform works a little bit like an AirBnB for chargers, whereby those who have a charger available for use join, and then those who need one can search and find one in their locality. Fundamentally, this is managed through an Android or iOS app through which search and matching is facilitated.
Payment is taken by Co Charger and then passed on to the host. Co Charger will help those who want to offer their charger work out session management, whilst hosts can choose a fair price for use that will cover their costs and potentially put some additional money in their pocket at the same time.
Whilst hosts will likely want to show a new guest how to use their charger to start with, once they’ve learned the ropes they can typically run the relationship independently. And that’s one of the key benefits of the way Co Charger is set up compared to schemes that are similar in principle like YourParkingSpace; it encourages the building of charging communities rather than one-off use.
Joel Teague, CEO of Co Charger said: “Co Charger doesn't do strangers. It's about neighbours and communities, regular ongoing arrangements between the same people week in, week out. We want to bring the benefits of home EV charging to everyone whether you're considering becoming a Host or Chargee.”
Co Charger was founded off the back of Teague’s own experience when he bought an EV, but his charger was delayed: “The car arrived but my charger was delayed and I found myself giving that same neighbour a few quid to use their charger once a week until mine arrived. It led to a lightbulb moment where I thought of all the people blocked from getting an electric vehicle because they live in a flat or terraced house and don't have anywhere to charge.”
Whilst we take consumer studies with a pinch of salt, they universally point to the fact that availability of charging – especially overnight – is a huge deciding factor to those considering switching from petrol. By opening up community resources, Co Charger is offering a part solution – though Teague is realistic in knowing that it’s part of a wider electric future.
“Community charging is no silver bullet,” he said. “But because it utilises the existing infrastructure, it’s a quick and affordable means to make electric motoring accessible to more people and bring the transition to electric vehicles forward by years”.
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest, and that’s the beauty of Co Charger. Using the massively successful AirBnB model is a good bet, but more importantly, by building charging communities around existing infrastructure, users are more likely to be invested in the success of electrified motoring. We also like the fact that founder, Joel Teague, can see the wider picture and knows that Co Charger is just part of a broader selection of solutions to a single problem.