While figures show sales of electric cars are on the rise in the UK they still only represent a tiny fraction of the market, with the SMMT reporting just 6.6% of all cars sold in 2020 were electric.
One of the biggest barriers to EV ownership is the lack of access to a regular, reliable charger. Research suggests 40% of people have nowhere to install a charger at home, either because they live in a flat or have no private driveway or garage.
There are less than 40,000 public chargers in the UK and they are often slow, already in use or out of service. Which means, if you’re part of the 40%, unless you can rely on a charger at your place of work you are at the mercy of a very unreliable public network.
In contrast to the limited number of public chargers the UK has around 300,000 private chargers installed: that’s according to new start-up Co Charger. Via an app, Co Charger connects EV drivers with people who have private chargers not currently in use - whether that’s a small business or a private residence - which they can use for a small fee.
At the end of each charge the ‘chargee’ pays the ‘host’ for the electricity via a pre-registered card, while Co Charger takes 12% commission from the fee for facilitating the transaction.
The scheme, being dubbed ‘Community Charging’, is no different to parking space sharing services and could do a lot to tackle the problem of limited access to chargers.
CEO of Co Charger, Joel Teague, said: "If widespread electric vehicle adoption is going to be successful, all motorists have to have easy, convenient and dependable access to chargers.
“One way to make this happen is via Community Charging, which is supported by the Co Charger app. Community Charging involves using community resources such as existing home or business chargers to enable members of that community to run an electric vehicle. In practice it means a motorist living in a flat can have an arrangement with a nearby neighbour with a driveway to charge at theirs once or twice a week, ideally overnight when tariffs are cheaper.
“It's an arrangement that's hugely beneficial for both parties. The host can earn some extra income from renting out their charger, whilst the chargee gets the nearest possible experience to home charging. And they can both enjoy living in a cleaner, greener neighbourhood.”