Many people are installing "gas stations" in their driveways. Could they become publicly accessible infrastructure?
When I wrote about Tesla's rapid expansion of its supercharger network, I was equally surprised by the extent of its less publicly touted network of "destination chargers"—slower, "Level 2" chargers that it is distributing to hotels, malls, restaurants and other locations so folks can charge while they shop/eat/sleep, and thus relieve some pressure from the faster superchargers which folks use for longer distance road tripping.
It got me thinking about another network of charging infrastructure which folks often don't talk about -- the Level 2 chargers which most of us electric vehicle drivers install in our homes and, sometimes, places of business. These chargers don't just enable our own electrified driving, but they also provide some peace of mind to any friends and relatives who may consider driving electric, and who can now be sure of a charge if they come for a visit.
In fact, I've noticed several private charging station owners—especially businesses—in my region are publicly listing their charging stations on the various apps that are available for locating charging spots. Interestingly, this isn't just limited to restaurants or shops offering charging as a perk for your business. We have real estate companies and industrial operations simply offering up their charge points as a free service to the electric vehicle community. (Often, they'll stipulate—quite reasonably—that their own vehicles get first dibs.)
This got me wondering: How many electric vehicle owners out there are offering up their charging points for public use? How many of you find yourselves regularly allowing at least friends and relatives to charge when they come for a visit? And how many would consider making your charging point available if there were a platform for managing the relationship (and maybe making some money), like this peer-to-peer charging service in the UK?
I'd be very grateful for and curious to see any feedback or comments below. One thing is certain about the coming electrification of transport: Our charging/fueling infrastructure will look nothing like the gas stations we all use today. Just how much of the need gets met by informal networks of home/office/neighborhood charging will have a huge impact on how much commercial/rapid charging infrastructure we really end up needing.