Airbnb for EV chargers launching in Ontario

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Published March 7, 2024 at 2:34 pm

electric vehicle charging station chargin startup Mississauga ontario

While the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) is growing, Ontario residents without easy access to a charging station might shy away from purchasing a more environmentally friendly vehicle–and one Mississauga-based company is hoping to change that. 

“We are creating a platform that will be like Airbnb for EV chargers,” Zeeshan Mohammed, co-founder of the new Chargin platform, told insauga.com. 

Mohammed says the platform, which is expected to launch across Ontario later this year, will invite people with EV chargers to rent their chargers to other EV owners. EV owners who do not have reliable access to a charger, such as those who live in condos or apartments with limited changing stations, can simply book a time at a privately owned charger using the platform. 

“We’re creating more accessibility to chargers at a lower cost,” he says. 

As for how the app and platform will work, Mohammed says the concept is similar to Airbnb, a site where users can book accommodations for a vacation or business trip if they’d rather skip a hotel or motel. 

Using the app, EV users can locate the nearest charging station and book a timeslot. 

While Mississauga was home to well over 400 charging stations as of 2022 (including about a dozen ChargePoint Level 2 public EV charging ports installed by the city), Mohammed says the app will expand options and provide more affordable options.

“Our platform intends to provide accessible charging hubs within local neighbourhoods in driveways, parking garages, and residential and commercial properties at affordable rates,” Mohammed said in an email.  

“Our customers will be able to view pricing and amenities and book a charging station in advance through this app.” 

As for how pricing will work, Mohammed told insauga.com that Chargin will set the rates. 

He also says the platform will help more people transition from gas-powered cars to electric, helping the country meet its green goals. 

“Currently, the EV industry in Canada is growing but not at the pace needed to contribute to achieving the climate change targets set out by the federal government by 2035,” Mohammed said in an email. 

“This simple yet powerful concept will enable Canada to enhance the reach of charging hubs to people without them going too far and paying unaffordable rates of installing EV chargers, [especially] for those who live in apartments and multi-story houses which do not have a charging infrastructure.” 

As for what inspired the concept, Mohammed says he and co-founder Avik Swarnakar saw a gap in the market. He says the concept came to life after eight months of talks with EV owners, potential EV owners and automakers. 

“We were talking to EV owners and we talked to car dealerships as well,” he says. 

“Dealerships said charging access is a challenge and we said they could talk to people about this option. This will promote EVs and sell more EVs, especially when the driver doesn’t own a house.” 

Mohammed says the platform offers environmental benefits by taking advantage of EV infrastructure that already exists. 

He also says the platform will allow people with chargers to earn additional income. 

“As an EV user, I can make $500 extra a month by hosting my charger and giving people access,” he says. 

Mohammed says that over 70 local charger owners are ready to host on the platform and that one user who spent extra to install a charger in his condo parking spot in Mississauga plans to allow other EV users in the building without chargers to use his equipment while he’s out. 

As for roll-out, Mohammed says Chargin will launch in early June in Ontario before expanding to B.C. and Quebec and, gradually, to the rest of the country.

“Chargin is committed to driving positive change in the electric mobility landscape,” he says.

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