No driveway, no problem! What's the key to getting motorists to switch to an electric vehicle?
What is one of the key obstacles blocking motorists from transiting to an electric vehicle? Having somewhere reliable and dependable to charge. According to research by Connected Kerb Moving from early adopters to mainstream buyers 67% of electric vehicle owners would not have made the switch if they had to rely on public chargers. And nearly 9 in 10 of non-EV owners would be encouraged to make their next car purchase an EV if they had a space to charge it overnight.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BASE - THREE TYPES OF ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING
There are three main types of electric vehicle charging – Base, Route and Destination (BRD). And when it comes to prompting a motorist to ditch their fossil fuel car, it's all about the Base.
When someone is considering buying an electric car, their first thought isn't going to be 'How will I charge when I travel from Nottingham to Cornwall on holiday?'. It will be 'Where can I charge reliably, conveniently and affordably on a regular basis so I'm able to carry out my regular commute/shopping and school run trips?'. In other words, they're aware that their main priority is base charging.
BASE CHARGING – is when the car is charged when it's parked at a particular location for an extended period of time. There are a number of options for Base Charging.
Home charging – this is when the EV driver is able to install a charge point at their home and is the most common form of charging. According to the Energy Saving Trust, currently 80% of charging is carried out at home.
Community charging is a unique, dedicated platform connecting motorists living in flats and terraces who can't charge at home ('Chargees') with neighbours who have a charger on their drive ('Hosts'). The Co Charger app handles the 'matchmaking', bookings and payments enabling motorists to have the closest possible experience to home charging. Community Charging is growing rapidly and Co Charger already has more home EV chargers available to rent than Tesla has destination chargers.
Workplace charging- some workplaces have installed chargers for their employees to use when they're working on site.
Kerbside charging- public chargers
Mobile charging – some companies have mobile vans that can come and charge your car when it's parked outside your home.
Route charging takes place when a motorist takes a long journey, maybe a business trip or holiday and has to charge en route. This type of charging is given a lot of attention, despite the fact that most of us don't make these long journeys very often and only 3% of EV charging is of this type.
Destination charging is when an EV driver 'tops up' their battery when they're out and about at a charger based at a popular 'destination' such as a supermarket, gym or leisure centre.
'We see a lot of coverage and debate on Route Charging,' says Joel Teague CEO of Co Charger, 'Maybe because it's the closest equivalent to fuelling a conventional car – and of course that type of charging is vital for those occasional long journeys. We also see a lot of great work going into Destination Charging and that is important too. But these two types of charging between them make up less than 10% of charging and research shows that they are not the enablers of EV adoption. When it comes to getting someone to ditch oil for electricity, it really is all about that Base. Base charging is what someone identifies before they switch to an EV; the 'way they intend to run the car'. For around half of people that means having a charge point installed at home and for others it can be a charge point installed at home, and for others it's a charge point at work. Public charge points are also an option, though independent research by Dodona Analytics shows that the UK won't be able to reach its EV adoption targets by relying on public chargers. For the rest it's Community Charging via Co Charger or maybe a mobile service such as Charge Fairy.
What matters is that without a Base charging option most motorists will carry on burning fossil fuels – regardless of how many motorway charging points there are. That's why we need to be paying far more attention to ensuring that every motorist has a viable Base charging option available to them.'
RELIABLE, PRACTICAL, AFFORDABLE BASE CHARGING FOR MOTORISTS LIVING IN FLATS AND TERRACES
According to the English Housing Survey at least 40% of motorists are unable to charge at home because they live in a flat or terraced house without off-street parking. There are currently around 39,000 public chargers available and over 300,000 home chargers. Making even a small percentage of the latter available via home charger sharing can 'unlock' electric vehicle ownership for motorists in flats and terraces and speed up the transition to electric vehicles.
After extensive research and development, Joel and his team launched Co Charger a platform for Community Charging in December 2020. Co Charger is currently the only purpose-built Community Charging platform.
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, village hall or dental surgery. Chargees are people who have an electric vehicle, or are considering buying one but aren't able to charge at home. Using the app, Chargees can browse local charge points and see rates that apply for each host.
The app handles the 'matchmaking', communications, bookings, reminders, calculations and payments – how it works is described in Co Charger's latest video Co Charger – Together We're Electrifying.
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.
Joel Teague, CEO of Co Charger was prompted to develop it by finding himself temporarily without a charger. 'Five years ago a neighbour convinced me, a card-carrying petrol-head to get an electric car. The car arrived but my charger was delayed and I found myself giving that same neighbour a few quid to use their charger once a week until mine arrived. It led to a lightbulb moment where I thought of all the people blocked from getting an electric vehicle because they live in a flat or terraced house and don't have anywhere to charge.'
Community Charging via Co Charger has the potential to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles by offering the following benefits:
1. Reliable – community charging can be pre-booked and the chargee can feel confident that the charger will be in working order.
2. Practical – unlike public charging, a host isn't likely to have back-to-back bookings, meaning that the chargee may be able to leave the car plugged in and return when convenient.
3. Affordable – although the host will set the price they would like to charge for the service, this will probably be closer to home tariff rates than public charger ones.
'So much of the focus around charging is on topping up when on lengthy journeys,' says Joel Teague. 'But that only accounts for 3% of charging – most people don't travel long distances on a regular basis. What's really important is to help those motorists desperate to get out of their fossil fuel vehicle and into an electric one but who are blocked because they don't have anywhere to charge. By charging on a neighbour's driveway they'll have access to reliable, bookable, affordable charging – the closest possible experience to having a charger of their own. Yes, we need more public chargers, but we already have hundreds of thousands of private ones, paid for and maintained that do nothing for all but a few hours a week. Charge point sharing can rapidly increase the number of available chargers – right now, without waiting for additional government funding or upgrading of the charging infrastructure. It's a quick, cheap, self-scaling solution. All it takes is for the community of EV charge point owners to see the benefits of sharing – to their pockets, to their communities and to the planet. We need everyone working in sustainable transport – especially in government – to bring about a charge point sharing culture in the UK.'
Co Charger has more EV charging points available than Tesla Destination Chargers.
Community Charging is really taking off. 'Co Charger now has over 1,300 Hosts with driveway chargers available to rent,' says Joel Teague. 'This is higher than the number of Tesla Destination chargers, which currently stands at 1179 (Zap-Map data May 2021). Co Charger's total user base is over 3,550 with over 1,500 hosts and has grown on average 45% a month during 2021. We now have Hosts and Chargees in every major UK city and town.'
Co Charger also plans to extend to other markets and has had enquiries from the USA, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden and Australia.