Irish company aims to be Airbnb of electric vehicle charging

GoPlugable will allow homeowners to rent out EV chargers to drivers who need to top up batteries

Maebh Reynolds is a newly minted engineering graduate from Queen’s University Belfast and the founder of GoPlugable, an electric vehicle (EV) charging solution that will use privately owned chargers to build a network of neighbourhood charging points across Ireland before rolling out the idea to the UK and beyond.

The idea of GoPlugable is to give EV owners more choice when it comes to where they can charge their vehicles while charger hosts (private individuals with home charging points) can make money from their charger when they’re not using it.

Bookings and payments will be made through the company’s app, which is due to go live in September and Ms Reynolds says the availability of neighbourhood chargers will make EV drivers less dependent on garage forecourt and public charging points that may be in use or out of service when an owner turns up needing to charge their vehicle.

“GoPlugable addresses one of the primary obstacles to electric vehicle adoption in Ireland, specifically the lack of access to a home charger for more than 32 per cent of owners in urban settings because they either live in apartments or in properties with no driveways,” Ms Reynolds says.


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“GoPlugable is aiming to solve this problem and revolutionise the EV charging experience for owners through our innovative peer-to-peer network that will make electric vehicle charging accessible, convenient and community-oriented for everyone, everywhere.”

GoPlugable is just out of the starting blocks having only been formally set up in May. However, Reynolds has been working away on the idea for some time and the MPV is due to be finished by the end of this month. User trials will begin at that point and, so far, more than 50 home charger owners (north and south of the Border) have signed up to become hosts.

“Once we get the trial up and running, we will be able solve any teething issues and see where we might need to make changes based on user feedback to make sure things operate as smoothly as possible,” Ms Reynolds says.

“The app has to be aesthetically pleasing and user-centric to get good buy-in from owners and hosts so that’s the primary focus over the next few months. We will also be working on the legal side of our terms and conditions of service and on our user manual which outlines what’s expected of people using the app.”

Hosts will determine how much they want to charge their four-wheeled guests for a stay, but Ms Reynolds says she anticipates that rates will be competitive as more people sign up to the network. GoPlugable will make its money by charging a flat fee of 30 cent and 15 per cent of the value of every transaction. Reynolds estimates start-up costs to date, funded through grants and prize money from success in business start-up competitions, at about €30,000. A seed round will be launched towards the end of the year.

Not all EV-charging hardware is the same (there are fast and slower chargers for example) and to avoid people taking a stab at how much charging time they require and possibly booking and paying for more than they need, Ms Reynolds says the app will have an interface that lets EV owners input the details of their vehicle. Once they select their charging point, the app will tell them how long a charge will take with the hardware available.

GoPlugable is not the first company into the charger co-sharing space in this region. However, its hardware integration sets it apart as does its stringent attention to making the app a safe way for all parties to gain and share access. “To sum up I’d say GoPlugable is like Airbnb for EVs – you book, you pay, you get your charge,” Ms Reynolds says.