Image via PlugShare iTunes page
A new app called PlugShare for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad is making it a whole lot easier to find convenient places to recharge your electric vehicle, which will make it a whole lot easier to reduce range anxiety. It comes just in time as gas prices hike upwards and consumers are taking a refreshed interest in EVs as alternative cars. The free app by Xatori shows you exactly where to find the nearest electrical outlet, EV plug-in spot, or charging station. PlugShare uses volunteer providers of electrical outlets. Yep -- volunteer! It's all crowdsourced.
As TechCrunch asks, "Why would anyone offer their outlet and electricity to EV drivers, for free, though?"
Xartori's co-founder Forrest North responds, "Mom and pop shops along a route where there are a lot of people [driving] and not a lot of places to charge could say we want to support EVs, become part of the charging network and draw customers. Electricity costs about 15 cents an hour in most of the U.S. now, so it's not much of an expense to do this."
PlugShare notes: "PlugShare users can choose to share 240v J1772 plugs (compatible with the latest generation of EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt) or standard 120v outlets. The App also includes an up-to-date listing of public charging stations. By crowd-sourcing the EV charging infrastructure problem, PlugShare will reduce "range anxiety" or the possibility of running out of power; a common concern associated with EV ownership."
It's a great way to get people more interested in driving EVs instead of gas-powered cars. The app can help illustrate to those who don't yet own EVs that finding a place to charge doesn't have to be as much of a pain as one might think. And for those that do own EVs, they can breathe a sigh of relief as their batteries get low thanks to not only this PlugShare app, but the generosity of those with an outlet.
The app just launched today, and has been tested by a small group of drivers in California's Bay Area. As the app expands and more people both offer, and use free charging stations, the company will do a study on how the availability of charging stations alters the image consumers have about the versatility of EVs.
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