Earth Day is the perfect time to find ways to tread more lightly on the planet, and this year, many are considering an electric vehicle.
New electric vehicles (EVs), like the Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF and CODA sedan are expanding the distance one can travel between charges,but the lack of a national charging station infrastructure still has some worried about running out of juice in the middle of nowhere.
To soothe EV owners' range-anxiety, software innovation company Xatori Inc. created an iPhone app designed to provide instant access to electric vehicle charging stations and other EV owners all over the country.
PlugShare is a community-driven electric vehicle charging network that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners in the United States to share their outlets with one another.
The app gives electric vehicle drivers an instant map of an area’s available, paid charging stations and homes or lots that will allow them to plug in and recharge for free, making it similar to AirBnB or CouchSurfing, but with cars instead of beds.
PlugShare also offers a direct communication channel for EV owners and enthusiasts interested in accelerating EV adoption and ushering in the new era of oil-free transportation.
“We want to build and support a community that’s creating a paradigm shift to a massively cleaner type of transportation, Xatori co-founder and chief executive Forrest North told TechCruch. "The reality is that most people will charge their electric vehicles at home and not exceed the range of their vehicle very often. This [app] provides a kind of backup plan, and lets you feel comfortable. If you did miscalculate, you’d be ok.”
With the PlugShare App, users can:
- Share electricity with others
- Browse a listing of public charging stations
- View profiles of other PlugShare members
- Call or SMS other PlugShare members
- Search for places to charge
- Connect with other EV owners and enthusiasts
- Set privacy and notification settings
- Get directions to shared outlets or charging stations
Users can freely browse the map of PlugShare members and charging stations, but must create a PlugShare account to view address and profile information. Users don't need a special outlet or an electric vehicle to sign up.