Concerns around running out of power during long journeys for electric vehicle (EV) drivers could be a thing of the past, thanks to a new initiative. Chargie is a peer-to-peer service which allows people to rent out their charging points in a similar way to renting out rooms or homes through Airbnb.
An EV owner wanting to charge their car can find a domestic charge point on the website and send a booking request to the homeowner, who then reviews the profile of the person making the booking before accepting or declining it.
While owners of charge points can register with the service, bookings can only be made from the 16th of May.
The service has been set up by a couple from Maidenhead, Jan Stannard and Jeremy Coulter, who recently invested in their first EV.
They came up with the concept after realising there wasn’t a public charging point anywhere near their UK holiday destination.
Mrs Stannard said: “We want Chargie to help make electric cars the dominant form of transport in the UK, not just for short local runs, which is how many electric cars are currently used.
“For that to happen, you need to be able to go a distance and know for sure that you can charge at the other end. At the moment, that’s simply not possible. Other than major cities and motorway service stations, most areas of the UK still have no meaningful charging infrastructure.”
Based on current electricity prices, a full recharge of an electric car costs the homeowner between £2 and £4.
Earlier this year, new research revealed higher insurance premiums are putting off most drivers from switching to hybrid cars or EVs.
In the UK, a new startup called Chargie is aiming to take this informal network of infrastructure and make it accessible to the public. The idea is simple: Much like AirBnB, charge point owners can list their unit and location, set a price, and then let EV owners book a scheduled time to top up their charge. If popular, it could help EV drivers switch from using their car for an occasional run-around to more long distance driving.
Of course, there are a few caveats. Typically, home chargers still take a significant amount of time to charge. So these arrangements may be better suited to folks who need a place to regularly charge while they are at work, or where they are stopping for a longer period of time.
Also, the fact that many of us EV owners rarely need to charge may mean that listing your charge point results in very few bookings. It will be interesting to see whether people really make any money from such arrangements. It will also be worth watching whether longer range EVs, combined with growing public infrastructure, mean the need for services like Chargie is temporary. Only time will tell.
Finally, it’s also worth noting that a large number of private vehicle owners and businesses already make their charge points available at no cost to members of the public, and list them on existing apps for locating a charging spot. But what a model like Chargie does is it provides predictability in the form of bookings, it incentivizes those of us who might otherwise be cautious about letting strangers park in our drives, and it provides a structure for formalizing those arrangements—complete with licensing agreements and a pathway to recourse if the arrangement is abused.
Apple is expanding the capabilities of its Maps app in Europe to help users charge their electric vehicles or find bike rental hubs.
The company has added the locations of the UK’s electric vehicle charging stations by incorporating data from Munich-based Cirrantic’s Moovility service, which lists re-juicing points for cars made by Tesla and Nissan, among others.
It has also added public bicycle rental and drop-off points to maps of London, New York and Paris in a catch-up to long-time mobile navigation leader Google, which has listed such stations in multiple countries for some time.Apple laid out its updates to Maps in a briefing in London on Wednesday.
Improving its mapping products has become a key focal point for Apple in its battle with Alphabet’s Google. Apple introduced electric vehicle charging points in Maps in the US in December.
In May last year, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said his company would open a new Indian development centre in Hyderabad, with a specific focus on speeding up the development of more competitive mapping tools. It plans to employ as many as 4000 people in that facility.
In December, Bloomberg reported that Cupertino, California-based Apple is assembling a team to use drones to create and update map information faster than it can currently do with camera-equipped road vehicles.
‘An enormous undertaking’
“There are thousands of layers of useful information that could be added to digital maps as an overlay,” said Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight, “and there’s a benefit in becoming known for adding as many as possible. But adding overlays like this is an enormous undertaking and needs an industrial approach in order to source, manage and maintain the information for a large number of layers across many countries.”
Apple first integrated transit information for the UK into Apple Maps in December, which includes route information for trains and buses across the nation, as well as London Underground services in the capital.
According to data compiled by Zap-Map, there are just under 4400 locations in Britain for recharging an electric vehicle. More than 3000 of these will now be marked in Apple Maps. To identify these, Apple is using live data provided by Munich-based Cirrantic, a mobility services company founded in 2014, and pinpointing EV charge points on a map.
Google lists charging points globally but doesn’t explicitly label them with easily identifiable icons.
“We think that consistent, live information of the growing charger infrastructure increases the confidence of EV drivers and, especially with Apple Maps, attracts new user groups to sustainable mobility offerings like EV cars,” said Arne Meusel, CEO and co-founder of Cirrantic.
“In the UK we started with supporting the major charger operators, including Podpoint, CYC, Ecotricity, NPower and NewMotion. Any interested operator is welcome to set up a connection with us.”
I have just found this email in my inbox. With the offer to sign up for membership (again) and get 6 months free of this £4/month membership. Mild saving but useful.
The membership typical fee of £4/month is not exactly extortionate but charging cost are a Lot Higher. 3.6p/minute charging on top of this paperwork affair of £4/month is off putting.
Needless to say, despite having(had) two electric vehicles in the household, I do charge at home 90% of the time. And I would* consider topping up where possible, in town,
Even paying this 3.6p/minute rate, – as it deals with dilemma of parking sometime. Thus worth the pennies so to speak.
The £4/month is a more of how you say, hindrance, not here, not there but I don’t feel like £4/mont payment for “what if”. Worst case I’d sign up right before I need to get to town to use one. And being that “case” not really
Happening, I was content to let go of my membership, and keep zee pennies where they ought to me. In my pocket.
Now this Easter offer: – meh, why not. Maths for “what if” and now that summer is coming, makes more of a likely probability of when not if I would need to top up. Yep. I signed up.
I personally think it should be silly cheap – to get EV drivers to pay member costs contently when not using the scheme for a while. Scrapped altogether perhaps, better yet, since at-the-point charging fees are not exactly cheap.
Rough maths tells that in basic 3kw charging that’s, 10-12 mile range for your average Leaf would cost 3.6px60=£2.16!!!!! Without going further I would like to remind you that 1L of petrol would get you some 10 odd miles also (50mpg avg) – yet that would cost £1.15 today!
That’s £1 over the top making the EV charging more expensive at these points that merely driving a petrol car. Capish?!
Anyway, like I said. I signed up, for that “what if” moment, and I can charge i3 on 7kwh making MY personal charging costs on par with a petrol car, mind.
Anywhoo, read on the good mail from yours truly, Source London:
We have already installed close to 500 new charge points across London and aim to have 1000 installed by the end of the year.
Our new smart charge points are maintained 24/7 by our own in-house maintenance team, can be booked for free up to 40 minutes in advance and usually have free on-street parking whilst giving you access to the largest on-street charge point network in London.
As we do not want our customers to pay for a mediocre charging experience, older charge points remain free to use. Our new smart charge points incur a session fee of 3.6p/min (with a minimum session fee of 20mn and an overnight cap of £8.64 from 8pm to 7am.
We will be installing hundreds of additional new smart charge points over the next few months – an update will be sent to you shortly with our installation plans.
The Government has announced continued support for the plug-in car grant and the installation of EV home-chargers as it revealed who will receive funding to help develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles.
People buying an electric vehicle (EV) will continue to benefit from up to £4,500 off the cost of an ultra-low emission car, up to £2,500 off a hybrid and receive £500 towards the installation of a charge point in their home.
Business secretary Greg Clark and transport minister John Hayes gave their backing to the schemes when awarding £109.7million to 38 automotive research and development (R&D) projects yesterday (Tuesday, April 11).
Hayes said: “This Government is investing £109m to support British businesses in developing innovative, important technologies which will greatly reduce our emissions footprint.
“The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads is at record levels and our renewed support for these exciting technologies is yet another significant milestone.”
The projects will be led by BMW, CNH Industrial, Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Penso Consulting, Westfield Sportscars and Williams Advanced Engineering.
Successful schemes include:
The development of a high power battery suitable for high-performance vehicles
A project to address gaps in and strengthen the UK supply chain
The development of the fuelling system for a concept gas tractor
Technologies to reduce the weight and improve electrification in SUV vehicle platforms
A further seven projects have won funding from the government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) to advance the development of a range of ultra-low and zero emissions vehicle technologies in the UK. These projects will be led by Equipmake, Ford Motor Company, Great British Sports Cars, Jaguar Land Rover, Ricardo Innovations, Romax Technology and Wrightbus.
Clark said: “The projects being awarded funding today will help extend our excellence in these cutting edge research fields, helping to safeguard jobs while ensuring the UK remains the go-to destination for automotive excellence.”
The Government also announced the first set of winners of the second round of its connected autonomous vehicles competition, CAV2, with projects set to receive a share of up to £31m, match funded by industry.
Twenty-four projects demonstrated clear commercial value and identified technical solutions for CAV technology, including how these vehicles will work within the UK transport system. Further successful projects from this competition round will be announced soon.
Funding is divided into four streams and ideas include projects using cars and pods platooning, or going in formation, to transport passengers from Stockport train station to Manchester Airport, create vehicles capable of driving in a range of road environments and technology which could make any car operate autonomously.
The CAV2 competition includes funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, for 4 one-year research and development projects supporting CAV vehicle developments, specifically in the areas of energy reduction and air quality improvements. The government will launch its third CAV competition, CAV3, to fund further industry-led research and development projects later in the year.
Innovate UK chief executive Ruth McKernan said: “These successful industry-led R&D projects will further spearhead UK development of low emission, and connected and autonomous vehicle technology, building on our world-leading research and innovation capability in this area and the significant strength of UK businesses large and small in this field.”
The announcements follow the launch of the first phase of Government’s £100m CAV test bed programme at the end of March with a competition worth £55m.
In a speech to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Connected Conference in London, the business secretary outlined plans to create a cluster of excellence in CAV testing along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London.
The test bed programme forms part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to develop world-class CAV testing infrastructure.
The programme will use some of the UK’s existing CAV testing centres to create a concentrated cluster of testing facilities in the UKs automotive heartland in the West Midlands, including; Coventry, Birmingham, Milton Keynes as well as Oxford and London.
A new business in London has the dream of adding electric car chargers to many of the city’s lamp posts, meaning that even the people who live in the converted loft up on the fourth floor that doesn’t even have any windows (£1,450pm, shared bathroom) can manage to charge their contract hire BMW i3s while they sleep.
Char.gy is asking potential users to badger their local councils to see if they’d like to get the chargers installed too, with the company promising local councils that the installation cost is paid for by an OLEV grant and then leased back, so, technically, there’s not much in the way of barriers to turning every residential street’s lighting post into a 7.7kWh charger.
Surely there will soon be rules about not dangling cables all over the pavements though. Can’t have trip hazards criss-crossing the nation, can we? [Char.gyvia TechCrunch]
Start-up awarded £3.1m by Innovate UK to deploy mobile EV charger as part of pilot project with Heathrow Airport
A UK start-up that promises to deliver the world’s first movable electric vehicle charge point has secured £3.1m of funding to help make its vision a reality.
Zapinamo announced yesterday that it has been awarded funding from the government-backed Innovate UK agency, following a previous £48,000 initial funding round.
The company said the latest funding will allow it to move forward with plans to demonstrate its technology in partnership with Heathrow Airport, Europcar E-Car Club and Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Zapinamo’s ‘first of a kind’ technology provides a fully movable EV charger, which can charge several electric vehicles simultaneously at speeds of up to 400kW.
The company said the ability to move a charge point to where it is required will reduce the time and cost it takes to deploy EV charging infrastructure, while providing firms with more flexibility as their EV fleets expand.
In addition, the ability to store energy for use by the charger should allow it to integrate with renewable energy systems and reduce pressure on local grids.
“The unique Zapinamo battery storage and power electronics system allows harvesting of energy from renewables off peak, which is stored and utilised when required and delivered at the maximum power the EV can accept,” explained Zapinamo’ Edwin Philpott viw email. “Where currently a Leaf can accept a 50kW charge our system is future proofed to accommodate the forthcoming 150-350kW EV systems already being developed. This renders conventional rapid charging systems ineffective without grid supply upgrade.”
He added that the system can be deployed in a static, moveable or fully mobile variety.
The new trial will involve the provision of charging solutions at Heathrow airport for electric private hire vehicles and other EVs using the Heathrow campus.
The company said the Innovate UK-funded trial will allow it prove that “two of the biggest blockers to EV uptake – charging on-street in urban areas and deploying chargers where power is at a premium – can be overcome with Zapinamo’s technology”.
“This is a great result for Zapinamo, and makes a strong case that the UK is the best place to develop globally competitive, disruptive automotive technologies,” said Tim Martin, chief executive of Zapinamo “Working with our partners, I look forward to bringing to market the world’s first EV charging solution.”
The news comes in the same week as the London Taxi Company cut the ribbon on the UK’s first dedicated EV manufacturing plant, boasting the capacity to deliver 20,000 plug-in range-extended black cabs a year.
Ensto is introducing its world-first combined electric vehicle charging station and commercial advertising screen to the UK, to give businesses the option of funding their annual running costs through advertising.
Ensto’s Chago Media is an innovative approach to EV charging, combining outdoor advertisement media, with an option of one or two charging points incorporated into the station, from which the income of advertising space sales can be used to fund the building investments and expenditures of the charging infrastructure.
Offering a profitable EV charging station from installation, Chago Media’s robust steel structure contains a 55” LCD display suitable for the most demanding outdoor use in all weather conditions. Chago Media is remotely controlled through a cloud-based media content management system where advertising can offer a fast return of investment of up to £80,000 in high-footfall areas of towns, as well as car parks, hotels and shopping centres.
Available with one or two fast charging Type2 sockets (max 22kW per socket), Chago Media has already been successfully launched in a number of European cities including Oslo, Helsinki, Vantaa, Turku and Kerava.
“The smart design of Chago Media incorporates digital advertising to cover off the costs of maintaining a charging infrastructure for a company, retailer car park owner or local authority”, comments James O’Neill, Ensto UK director. “Customers need to simply select the charger that delivers the required end-user services while fulfilling their technical requirements.
“It’s the ideal solution for businesses looking to expand their customer offering as the popularity of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles continues to grow within the UK. Having access to on-site charging increases a business’s desirability for EV customers.” adds O’Neill.
Ensto UK is currently liaising with several outdoor advertising specialists, to utilise their expertise to ensure customers are able to achieve the most out of their investment in a Chago Media charger.
Electric cars are putting increasing pressure on the UK’s power grids, making it vital they are recharged at the right time of day, a minister has said.
John Hayes, transport minister, said it was important that such battery-powered cars were topped up in smart ways to avoid unduly stressing the energy system.
He said he hoped the accelerating uptake of electric cars, which registration figures show are growing faster than conventional new cars, could catalyse a wider debate on how best to manage the UK’s energy demand.
“We know the demand for electric vehicles places the national grid under pressure. It’s critically important – we are working on this. It’s particularly important that we charge smart, so we flex demand and take advantage of spare capacity,” Hayes told an audience in London.
The minister joked that a competition to design a better-looking electric car charger could see the winning entry nicknamed the “Hayes hook-up”.
SSE, one of the UK’s big six energy companies which also runs local power grids in Scotland, said its electric car programmes found most owners charged their batteries immediately after returning home from work. That coincides with when energy demand is already at its highest point in the day, which has led the company to trial time-shifting the charging to miss the peak.
The utility said such “demand-side response”, where a car may not start charging until a few hours after a driver has plugged it in, when demand is lower, could alleviate much of the cost of power network upgrades required to cope with electric vehicles. However, most of the UK’s existing 10,000-plus charging points do not have such technology.
Stewart Reid, head of asset management and innovation at SSE, said realistically some network upgrades, which would ultimately be passed on to energy bills, would be required if electric cars took off in a big way.
“If this goes ballistic, if it’s like iPads went, then we’re going to have a very big investment programme: you’re going to have to invest in the network. But at least we’re going in with our eyes open,” he said.
A spokesman for the Energy Networks Association, whose members run local power grids, agreed that investment in the network would be needed. But he said: “Electricity network operators are developing a number of innovative solutions to enable people to charge their vehicles while minimising the impact on the power network.”
Parking management firm APCOA has entered into a new partnership with POD Point, a manufacturer and supplier of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, which will see charging units installed in airport car parks, as well as other locations, throughout the UK. The agreement has already seen 15 POD Point units installed at London Heathrow Airport and Birmingham’s Broadway Plaza retail center.
Erik Fairbairn, CEO of POD Point, said, “This partnership agreement has the potential to be a game-changer for the EV industry in the UK, and not only in volume.
“Working with APCOA means access to EV will be granted to a huge section of the population at various touchpoints in their daily life as well as putting a measure in place to generate footfall in retail centers and provide added services that encourage customer retention for businesses.
“Our mission is to have a POD Point everywhere people park for an hour or more and today’s announcement means we are a step closer to making that vision a reality.”
Kim Challis, regional managing director for UK and Ireland, APCOA, said, “At APCOA we’re passionate about sustainable travel and the future of electric vehicles. I’m proud to be em-barking on this exciting new partnership with POD Point.
“APCOA is the parking provider of choice to hundreds of organizations across the UK and Ireland, and our broad network will open up EV chargers to new motorists and support the wider take-up of electric vehicles.”
2016: “The government’s current air quality plan with respect to London is based on the very limited ambition of the previous mayor to tackle air pollution and isn’t enough to protect Londoners health,” said Khan. “I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health as I suffer from adult-onset asthma myself.”
Khan’s first major policy announcement after winning the mayoral election for Labour were new plans to tackle the capital’s air pollution. These include more than doubling the size of the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone.