When people take advantage of automobile recycling, they help themselves save money and also reduce their impact on the environment.
Whether one’s interest is in keeping more cash in their pocket, limiting the size of their ecological impact, nobody has to wait until their car is in need of repair or a complete replacement to achieve either goal. In fact, the advent of Airbnb-like companies for electric vehicles, EVs, has created an entirely new way to save eco-conscious people some money.
The proliferation of peer-to-peer renting has already had a huge impact on many different industries. Car sharing services like Uber or Lyft let anyone try their hand at being a driver while offering better prices for the many consumers that used to have very few options in terms of ride services. Meanwhile, Airbnb has been able to cut into the short-term rental business that has long been dominated by hotels, by letting anyone rent out their homes through their platform. With the popularity of electric vehicles on the rise and investment in public stations lagging, it was only a matter of time until people started renting out their own private vehicle chargers to other motorists.
While never needing to fill up a gas tank sounds great, one of the largest stumbling blocks consumers face when considering EVs is the relative paucity of charging stations available across the country. Gasoline’s hundred year start on electric vehicles certainly gives conventional automobiles a distinct advantage when it comes to infrastructure. However, as electric vehicles become more popular the number of charging stations will almost surely rise. Companies like Plugshare seem to be in a great place to assuage any anxieties motorists may have about the availability of charging stations. Plugshare helps drivers locate public places to charge one’s vehicle in addition to the private residences of users that are willing to rent out their charger to the general public. However, this idea isn’t unique to America; French multinational automaker, Renault opened up Elbnb in Sweeden to help drivers find other residents who are willing to offer up their plugs. The program helped increase the total number of publically available chargers by four percent in just a matter of weeks. Moreover, these new private stations will be able to limit lines at the few, but highly coveted, public chargers.
As programs like Plugshare and Elbnb increase their reach, more people outside of big cities will be able to take advantage of EVs. Rural residents who may live far away from city centers with ample charging stations may now be more willing to choose an EV if they know they’ll be able to charge their vehicle at a neighbor’s place if need be. Places far off the beaten path that were virtually impossible to get to in an EV may now be accessible if a Plugshare spot is in the area! One can only imagine the rising number of home solar systems will help boost the number of people offering their charger stations up for public use and fill in gaps in the network of preexisting chargers.
The so-called sharing economy, or access economy, has already had a noticeable effect on culture and this new development seems likely to continue that trend. EV motorists will get the chance to meet and interact with other likeminded people through sharing services and help build a more tightly knit community around the ideals users may share. Furthermore, while this new industry changes our culture it will help preserve one of the most treasured parts of American culture: the road trip. As more of the country falls into the reach of EVs, people will be able to take vacations and not have to worry about gas prices or their effect on the environment thanks to the ever widening swaths of the country made accessible by new stations.
While we can all dream of a day where public charging stations are as common as gas stations are today, it is reassuring to know that EV owners are finding ways to keep their cars going