Chargie launches to make EV ownership easier

One of the major hurdles facing anyone considering trading in their petrol or diesel car for an electric vehicle is the lack of range and availability of public charging stations.

Recent government initiatives and additional input from private companies has seen the UK's electric vehicle charging networks rapidly expand, but it is still not as convenient as pulling onto a forecourt and filling up with fuel.

But EV-owning entrepreneurs Jan Stannard and Jeremy Coulter have just launched Chargie, an online service (a smartphone app will follow) that is said to do for the electric vehicle drivers what Airbnb has done for the holiday home rental market.

In short, EV owners can head to the website and find private charging station owners who are willing to rent out their units for a fixed fee.

The charge point owner decides a simple flat-rate amount per charge, but the company adds a 10% service fee on top of this for those with a charge point listed on the site, or 20% for those without.

Chargie says that the cost to the homeowner is between £2 and £4 per charge, although the average cost to the EV owner hasn't been revealed.

The founders hope this new service will help reduce the 'range-anxiety' felt by electric vehicle owners, allowing them to travel to locations previously not served by the charging network.

"We would like it to make a material difference to people's EV experience," Stannard told Autocar.

"There needs to be the certainty of travelling to a destination with ample charging; certainty that there will be a charger in working order without being occupied or blocked by a petrol car. The booking element of Chargie provides the certainty."

"Chargie is Jamaican patois for 'close friend' – we have the belief that people enjoy helping each other, but the service depends on the goodwill of the EV community; making sure the chargers are available, and that charges are not overpriced," he added.

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