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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Irish company aims to be Airbnb of electric vehicle charging


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Maebh Reynolds, a recent engineering graduate from Queen’s University Belfast, has founded GoPlugable, an electric vehicle (EV) charging solution that aims to build a network of neighborhood charging points in Ireland and expand to the UK and other locations. GoPlugable utilizes privately owned chargers, allowing EV owners more options for charging their vehicles while enabling charger hosts to earn money when their chargers are not in use.

The company’s app, scheduled to launch in September, will facilitate bookings and payments. By providing access to neighborhood chargers, GoPlugable aims to reduce dependence on busy garage forecourts and public charging points that may be occupied or out of service. The initiative addresses the challenge of limited access to home chargers, which affects over 32% of EV owners in urban settings, particularly those residing in apartments or properties without driveways.

Reynolds believes that GoPlugable will revolutionize the EV charging experience by creating an innovative peer-to-peer network that is accessible, convenient, and community-oriented. The company was established in May and is currently in the early stages of development. User trials are set to begin soon, with over 50 home charger owners already signed up as hosts.

During the trial phase, any issues will be addressed based on user feedback to ensure smooth operations. The company will prioritize creating an aesthetically pleasing and user-centric app to encourage owner and host engagement. Legal aspects, such as terms and conditions of service, and a user manual outlining expectations for app users, will also be developed.

Charging rates will be determined by hosts, but Reynolds expects them to be competitive as more people join the network. GoPlugable plans to generate revenue by charging a flat fee of 30 cents and 15% of each transaction’s value. The startup costs, amounting to approximately €30,000, have been covered through grants and prize money from business start-up competitions. A seed round is scheduled to be launched later in the year.

To address variations in charging hardware and prevent overestimating charging time, the app will allow EV owners to input their vehicle details. Once the charging point is selected, the app will provide an estimated charging duration based on the available hardware.

Although there are existing companies in the charger co-sharing space in the region, GoPlugable differentiates itself through its hardware integration and emphasis on app safety for all users. Reynolds likens GoPlugable to “Airbnb for EVs,” where users can book, pay, and receive their charge.

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Owen is an excited writer with over 10 years of experience in the newspaper industry. Born and raised in Ireland, Owen developed a passion for writing and journalism at a young age. He pursued this passion by studying journalism in college and quickly landed a job as a reporter at a local newspaper. Over the years, Owen worked his way up the ranks in the newspaper industry, eventually becoming one of the top editors in the company.

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