EV charging goes ‘home industry’ in UK

  •  ‘Chargie’ great news for UK EV owners – SA next?
  • Owners being recruited ahead of May launch
  •  EV drivers can add own chargepoint to Chargie
'HI, WELCOME TO MY HOME CHARGER': Would you like a cup of coffee, too - perhaps a sandwich?' Image: Newspress
‘HI, WELCOME TO MY HOME CHARGER’: ‘Would you like a cup of coffee, too – perhaps a sandwich?’ Image: Newspress

LONDON,  England – Another step along the road to emancipation for owners of electric cars has come this month (May 2017) with the introduction in the UK of a sweet little computer program called Chargie.

May 2017 will see the launch (www.chargie.net). It’s believed to be the world’s first “dedicated and bookable peer-to-peer” electric vehicle (EV) charging service and will give such vehcles access to other EV owners’ personal domestic wall-mounted battery charging points provided they are signed up to the Chargie service.

PLUG IN, PARK OFF IN A COUNTRY VILLAGE: That's what's envisaged for a UK electric vehicle home-charging programme. Image: Newspress
PLUG IN, PARK OFF IN A COUNTRY VILLAGE: That’s what’s envisaged for a UK electric vehicle home-charging programme. Image: Newspress

The concept is intended to remove, for ever, EV owners’ fear of running out of ‘fuel’.

BETTER VIABILITY

Cities and normal fuel stations (the latter understandably as they want to sell petrol and diesel) have generally failed to make such facilities common. Chargie will make EV’s viable for way more people, especially those deterred so far from going electric.

So, how does it work…?

It’s said to share several characteristics with Airbnb’s web-based hospitality market. Participants will be listed on the Chargie website and a charge-time booking attempt made online.  The homeowner can then review the profile of the person making the booking before accepting or declining it.

The booking accepted, the user pays via Chargie and the system contacts both parties to confirm details. The Corner sees it as the basis – particularly in South African villages marginalised by long-distance highways – for a new home industry.

WAKE-UP! CALL FOR SERVICE STATIONS

While the family car’s battery is charged the car owner and family could be supplied, for instance, with coffee and sandwiches, a full meal, a car wash/vacuum, travel goodies, a temporary internet connection, information about local attractions..

Perhaps even a loo!

Each, The Corner thinks, an attractive alternative to often scruffy and noisy fuel-station restaurants and their often insalubrious ‘facilities’.

The UK network is scheduled to go online on May 17 2017 and is asking UK chargepoint owners to register. Perhaps South African fuel stations should start installing charge points – after all, EV families won’t be buying fossil fuel anyway…

FREE REGISTRATIONS

A charge typically costs the UK homeowner £2.00 to £4.00 a ‘tankful’ (about R30-R60) though they can specify their own per-charge cost when they register at http://www.chargie.net. Chargie adds a small service fee, which will be halved if the person has  their own chargepoint on the network.

Registration and search will be free; householders can specify their ‘opening times’.

Chargie’s founders are Jan Stannard and her husband Jeremy Coulter. They had realised there was no public charging point anywhere near their home in Maidenhead, a UK holiday destination, so turned their ‘!’ moment into a world first for the EV community.

CHARGE UP - AND MAKE A NEW FRIEND: That could be the scenario through a British EV charging programme. Image: Chargie
CHARGE UP – AND MAKE A NEW FRIEND: That could be the scenario through a British EV charging programme. Image: Chargie

Stannard told The Corner in a media release: “We want Chargie to help make electric cars the dominant form of transport in the UK but not just for short local runs. At the moment that’s simply not possible. Other than cities and motorway service stations the UK still has no meaningful charging infrastructure.

“The UK has nearly 100 000 plug-in cars. That number is expected, by 2027, to have risen to 1.3-million and we believe many owners with a professional fitted charger on the exterior of their home will be happy to let fellow EV drivers plug-in.”

Readers in the UK can join the Chargie community on Facebook.

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