Electric Vehicles

New iPhone App for Electric Cars Shows Charging Station Network

So, you have an electric car? Do you ever worry about finding your next charging station before running out of juice? There’s an app for that. PlugShare for the iPhone allows electric car drivers to locate the closest charging stations. Now you can rest easy that you will be able to travel the highways without worrying about being stranded with no power.

New iPhone App for Electric Cars Shows Charging Station Network

The new app also lists homeowners who are willing to share their power. The California-based Xatori announced their new app, PlugShare, earlier this month. According to ConsumerReports.org’s Car Blog, “To see a map of shared outlets in a given area, drivers enter a destination. If someone is using the app to share home electricity, an address, type of outlet, phone, and preferred time of contact is needed. For many people outlets are in the garage or house, and therefore may want to be home to let an electric car driver charge up.” How cool is that? People are actually willing to share their power with other electric car owners. Perhaps there is hope for the world. Of course, the app also includes a complete database of public charging stations across the US if you’d prefer just using public charging stations when you’re out on the road.

One concern is that homeowners offering to share may see a rise in their power bill. Xatori says the cost of charging a vehicle isn’t that much and that there shouldn’t be that much of an increase in the homeowners’ power bill. Homeowners who wish to share don’t need to worry about having a special outlet to signup, because EV owners will have their own vehicle plug-in adaptors. And the sense of being part of a group that furthers “greening” America may just offset the cost.

“Many people won’t have EVs right away, but everyone has an electrical outlet,” Xatori CEO Forrest North said in a statement. “Sharing electricity from a standard outlet only costs about $0.15 an hour, a small price to lessen our dependence on oil.” In addition, it is thought that most drivers will only be “topping off” their EVs rather than fully charging their vehicles.

Will this change the dependency on oil in the US? It is a step in the right direction. With the price of gas now over $4 in most states and still rising, the need for alternative transportation is becoming more critical. Proponents of electric cars are hoping with more awareness and availability of charging stations, more people will be purchasing electric vehicles soon. There is a movement called 4 Years. Go that was started in 2010 and intends to “green” the world by 2014. Their plan is to create awareness and assist people in making small, everyday changes that will result in a greener planet. Electric cars are just one part of the steps necessary to help.

The PlugShare app is only available for iPhone users at this time. Xatori plans to roll out the Android app “soon.” This is probably the first of many EV apps that we will see. It is exciting to think that app developers are working along the same thoughts and goals as environmentalists. What do you think? Let’s shout a rousing “Go Green!”

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