Sharing home and workplace electric vehicle chargers is essential for the UK to successfully transition to EVs states independent research
According to independent research by data and analytics experts Dodona Analytics electric charger sharing is essential to support the UK's ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. Their white paper reveals that if only 4% of motorists with a home charger share it with their neighbours living in flats and terraced houses, then a successful transition to EVs can be achieved - but without it we face a shortfall or 'charger gap' of over 250,000 chargers.
An increasing number of companies facilitate EV charge point sharing via apps. The app connects the 'Host' or charger owner with motorists who would like to rent their charger and will handle the 'matchmaking', bookings and payments. Co Charger connects communities to share chargers within neighbourhoods whilst other apps offer 'destination charging' as an alternative to public and motorway charging on long journeys.
In their white paper 'Will the EV charge point roll-out put the brakes on cleaner transport?' Dodona Analytics has created a model which shows the relationship between projected supply and demand for public EV charge points between 2021 and 2030.
It reveals that in the last 3 years 7469 new public charge points were installed each year (source: Zap-Map). Dodona Analytics modelled the scenario where there were 10,000 new charge points every year, reaching 133,642 in 2030.
However the number of electric vehicles in the UK is predicted to continue to grow exponentially until it reaches 9 million in 2030 (source: National Grid).
This means the installation of new charging points is not keeping pace with the EV market.
Policy Exchange, the UK's leading Think Tank in its report Charging Up predicted that the UK will need public 400,000 chargers by 2030 in addition to home chargers.
The public chargers are needed primarily for motorists in flats and terraces who aren't able to charge at home. But even motorists with home chargers will need them when making longer journeys.
Dodona Analytics predict that the current rate of charger installation will leave a shortfall of over 250,000 chargers.
'Our research shows there is a wide gap between the future demand for and the current availability of charge points,' says Stefan Furlan, CEO of Dodona Analytics. 'In order to overcome the Charger Gap our paper recommends the following. Firstly a data driven approach to site selection and infrastructure deployment, secondly the sharing of home and workplace chargers and thirdly cross-industry collaboration.'
There are currently around 35,000 public chargers in the UK. This is a fraction of the number of home chargers – estimated to be at least 300,000.
Joel Teague, CEO of Co Charger says, 'The UK's public charger building scheme is ambitious, well-organised and well-funded. But as this paper shows, further access to chargers is needed to help motorists in flats and terraces make the shift. Yes, we need more public chargers but we already have hundreds of thousands of private ones that do nothing for all apart from a few hours a week. We need everyone working in sustainable transport to help bring about a charge point sharing culture in the UK. Not everyone is in a position to share their charge point – for example those who have nowhere to put their own car when they do – but if we only need 4% of charge points to be shared, that's achievable surely?'
Co Charger enables those who do have chargers, whether motorists, businesses or community buildings to share them with neighbours who don't. It has featured in The Sunday Times 'Can't find an electric car charger – rent the neighbour's, Forbes 'Charger sharing could be the solution to the EV infrastructure problem' and Autocar 'Good Neighbours: an EV charging solution for motorists with no driveway'.
The Co Charger app connects Hosts with Chargees. Hosts are motorists and organisations with an EV charger they'd be open to sharing, whether that's a neighbour, charity, or a small business. The app enables Hosts to manage bookings and set the price they would like to charge for the service. Chargees are people who have an electric vehicle, or are considering buying one but aren't able to charge at home.
The process and payment structure is deliberately very simple. At the end of each charging session the Chargee pays via a card pre-registered in the app and the Host receives that payment minus Co Charger's 12% fee. There is no other cost or commitment.
How the app works is described in Co Charger's latest video Co Charger – Together We're Electrifying.
'With charger sharing, everyone wins,' says Joel Teague. '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. The Host can earn some extra income from renting out their charger, whilst the Chargee gets the nearest possible experience to home charging. Obviously not everyone is in a position to share their charger, for example they might not have anywhere else to put their own car while someone uses it but moving towards a culture of sharing EV chargers will help us hit the UK's environmental targets sooner rather than later. And the report by Dodona Analytics reveals that only 1 in 25 need to share – surely we can manage that?'.
Ben Nelmes, Head of Policy at independent transport research organisation NewAutomotive says, 'People who live in flats and terraces need confidence in local and reliable access to charging before they can make the switch to an EV. To have a rapid and early transition to EVs we need to use every tool in the box. This means more data-driven decisions about where to put public charge points and also incentive for charge sharing schemes, which have huge potential to improve people's ability to charge up their EVs where and when they need to.'
'I know how challenging it can be to run an electric car without a charger because I was once in that position myself,' adds Joel. 'Five years ago a neighbour convinced me to get an electric car. My new Renault Zoe arrived but the charger installation was delayed, and my nearest public charger was miles away. I ended up giving the same neighbour a few quid to use their charger once a week until mine arrived. It was such an easy, convenient arrangement and led to a lightbulb moment in which I realised that connecting communities via an app to share chargers could unlock electric vehicle ownership for millions of motorists.'
Joel himself is a reformed petrol-head turned electric vehicle superfan. 'I used to drive Jaguars, which I would buy second-hand. But then I decided to invest in a new Renault Zoe because it offered a smooth, quiet ride and was an ethical choice. However, as is the case for a lot of motorists going electric did mean stretching my budget when it came to the initial purchase but I knew that over time the low running costs would make the car a wise financial choice for me and my family. If I hadn't been able to charge at either at home or within my immediate neighbourhood the transition to an electric vehicle wouldn't have been viable – and with Co Charger I want to help more motorists have the same opportunity.'