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The public accounts committee has said that there is a “mountain to climb” to reach the goal of making all new cars zero-emissions by 2035 and a lack of charging capability is considered to be the biggest barrier.

Some apps such as PlugShare target existing electric-car owners for use when they’re away from home while JustPark encourages people to share their chargers as a method of community support and to encourage electric-car uptake. A new app named Co Charger aims to encourage an increase in the shift to electric vehicles by connecting people who have home chargers installed, with near neighbours who do not. This means that potential EV users who cannot install a charger at home can still swap to an electric vehicle. Countrywide, there are a about 400,000 home chargers currently available compared with around 30,000 public ones – a ratio of approximately 13:1 so the Co Charger app is designed to encourage local communities to share the privately owned electric chargers across the country.

The owner of the charger, or ‘host’, effectively rents their charger to the ‘chargee’ who is interested in sharing, meaning that a would-be EV user can go ahead, knowing that charging is available at a nearby neighbour.

Currently, most electric car owners use a wall box installed on a private parking space or driveway to charge their EV overnight. For people who do not have off street parking, rent their home, or live in flats or apartments this may not be possible. Somewhere around 40% of motorists are unable to install a charger at home. The Co Charger app matches would-be chargees with hosts, coordinates bookings, calculates the cost to the chargee and arranges payment directly to the host’s bank account, though according to HMRC, hosts should be aware there may be tax implications on any money made this way. Joel Teague, CEO of Co Charger had the idea when his new electric vehicle arrived without its charger.

As a neighbour let him use theirs, he put money through their letterbox each time, “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.” As apps such as these help increase the availability of chargers in the UK they could help encourage electric-car ownership for some people.