4 reasons why Community Charging is accelerating EV ownership
Community Charging involves sharing home electric vehicle charge points and enables motorists with driveway chargers to rent them out to neighbours who live in homes where they can't have a charge point of their own. The 'matchmaking', bookings and payments are all taken care of via an app.
Co Charger is the only purpose-built Community Charging app and has shown that people are very willing to share their charge points, having come from zero to over 9,000 users and 3,200 available charge points in 18 months. Co Charger is now the third largest and fastest-growing UK charging network, bigger than BP Pulse (3,052), Tesla (Destination and Supercharger 2,040) and ChargePlace Scotland (1,915) (source Zap-Map May 2022 ).
1. The transition to electric vehicles can't work without Community Charging
The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT), the Government and environmental organisations have all expressed serious concerns about whether the public charging network can keep up with demand. Currently most electric vehicle owners are charging at home. But for the UK to reach Net Zero by 2050 it's essential for the estimated 14 million motorists living in flats, terraced houses, and rented homes to be able to charge easily and affordably.
Despite the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, the charging infrastructure hasn't kept pace. The SMMT report 'Plugging the Gap ' states that the ratio for plug-in cars per public charger has dropped by half in the last twelve months. There is now one charge point for every 32 plug-in vehicles compared one for every 16 in 2021.
'The transition to electric vehicles isn't going to work by focusing on public charging alone,' says Joel Teague, CEO of Co Charger. 'We can't have a two-tier system in which charger 'haves' can top up easily and affordably whilst the 'have-nots' are faced with the prospect of tracking down a public charger that's available, not broken and with a reasonable tariff. And with public charger installation not keeping pace with EV uptake the pressure on available chargers is only going to get worse. Public chargers are expensive to install and maintain, costing up to £8000 or more and in many rural areas they won't be commercially viable. Community Charging is a hugely significant part of the EV charging 'jigsaw'. Its focus isn't on creating more expensive infrastructure but making the most of what's already there. There are currently just over 30,000 public chargers available but over 400,000 home chargers. If even 10% of charger owners share them with their neighbours we can double the number of available chargers overnight – without a single hole being drilled or a penny of public money spent.'
2. It creates Happy Hosts and Cheerful Chargees
Community Charging is reliant on community-minded 'Hosts' – electric vehicle charger owners who are happy to share with a few neighbours living without a driveway or in flats and terraces. The 'Host' can arrange bookings for times that are convenient for them and set an appropriate fee which is paid via the app. There's the option to make additional income by charging above the basic costs for the charger rental. Co Charger 'Hosts' report being delighted at discovering such an easy way to help their neighbours transition to an electric vehicle, creating a cleaner, greener neighbourhood and fighting climate change.
Co Charger 'Chargees' are often desperate to get out of their fossil fuel vehicle but have been blocked by not having convenient charging close to home. It isn't possible to book most public chargers so there's always uncertainty about being able to charge and the need to stay with the vehicle or pick it up promptly afterwards. But charging on a neighbour's driveway, when it may be possible to leave the vehicle overnight, creates the closest possible experience for motorists to having a charger of their own.
Such charging practices can also help employees whose businesses decide to go electric. With increasing numbers of companies, like DPD, leading the way, employees may need to find charging facilities near home. Utilising Community Charging as a means of supporting these workers increases efficiency and reduces stress.
3. Community Charging has the support of councils, government and the automotive industry
In the Government report ‘Taking charge: the electric vehicle infrastructure strategy ’ published in March 2022, Community Charging was highlighted as an important way of expanding the UK's charging network. The report stated that 'Peer to peer charging (also known as Community Charging) will see many people making their private charge points available to rent'.
Increasing numbers of councils, including Dorset , Kent and Oxfordshire , have flagged up Community Charging on their websites as an option for residents.
Community Charging is also supported by Edmund King OBE, the President of the AA who says, 'More emphasis needs to be given to the third of households with no dedicated off-street parking provision whose residents may struggle to charge their EVs. This is where Community Charging and charge point sharing has a massive role to play. This will be a positive way of levelling up, so we can give power to all electric drivers, no matter where they live.'
4. Community Charging can help EV charging become more accessible
According to a survey by The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC), 73% of respondents perceive public charge points as being neither accessible nor easy to use. Charging on a neighbour's driveway has the potential to be a positive solution for many disabled motorists, offering bookable charging at a familiar location that is likely to offer more space than most public chargers. Co Charger has partnered with Motability Operations to offer a pilot project in which Motability Scheme customers trial the Co Charger app to charge their electric vehicles. Joel Teague, CEO of Co Charger says, 'One of the main reasons Co Charger was developed was to increase accessibility to electric vehicles and help more people swap to an EV. With up to half of all disabled motorists expected to be partially or wholly reliant on the public charging network by 2035, sharing private chargers is a quick and easy way to help others. We very much hope this will provide an additional incentive to encourage more charger owners to share.'