A couple of years ago, I predicted we’d see a growth in peer-to-peer electric vehicle charging, where homeowners hire out their EV charger when they don't need it themselves in return for payment. Think of it like an Airbnb for EV charging.
And now a company is doing just this. Manta Ray EV is creating an Airbnb-like experience for EV charging by connecting EV driving with private charging point hosts.
I spoke to Mark Miller, CEO and co-founder of Manta Ray EV, last week. The company is developing a platform to facilitate the exchange, including bookings and payments.
It makes sense. A car remains idle 90 percent of the day. Further, residential EV chargers also frequently sit idle, especially in single-vehicle homes.
People need greater access to EV chargers
Miller predicted that by 2030, 8 to 11 million cars will be electric or hybrid on the roads in the UK. Further, the public charging operator market is highly fragmented and charge points are poorly distributed.
Further, according to EV charger company Ubitricity, more than 60 percent of households in English cities are without off-street parking. These numbers rise to 68 percent for people living in social housing. Access to affordable street-based EV charging will be essential for this substantial group to enter the EV market.
A P2P approach that promotes a shared economy for charging infrastructure, creating local income for the local community. I
t's particularly valuable in regions where the expenses associated with distribution network operators make installing public chargers financially unfeasible.
A privacy and safety first approach
“At Manta Ray EV, safeguarding the privacy and interests of private charging point (CP) owners is our utmost priority and #1 importance to users we interviewed and surveyed.
We have implemented a range of measures to ensure the security and well-being of CP owners when the public utilises their charging points.
The company’s platform incorporates a KYC verification process for both drivers and hosts.
"It involves comprehensive identity verification and authentication procedures, including bank-standard verification, address verification, and CP verification.
By employing these measures, we significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised usage and protect the privacy of our CP owners."
Manta Ray also plans to include damage Protection Insurance and has partnered with EV Charge Point Installers like UCS Technologies to provide maintenance and repair services.
Miller explained, “This ensures that heavily used CPs can be quickly repaired, minimising downtime, and optimising utilisation.”
The platform also incorporates community self-regulation.
Regarding access to charge points, Mark explained:
“For single-family garages, the access is through a set of instructions to a lock box similar to many shared Airbnb apartments or rooms.
For shared parking, the owner. can add QR codes or bar codes along with instructions to get access to the charge point in closed-off areas."
Further, as part of the platform, the charging price is adjusted in real-time to accommodation data such as special events, weather, traffic, and time of day.
And significantly, Milled shared that the company “also plans to apply the ChargeSafe rating system to our Manta Ray EV charge points which indicates safety, especially for women and also for disability accessibility.”
The ecosystem for P2P EV charging creates new business opportunities.
There’s likely to be an increase in available chargers, as in 2021, the UK government introduced world-first legislation requiring new homes and workplace buildings — and those undergoing major renovation— to install EV charging points from 2022.
EV chargers put businesses on the map (literally, in the case of EV charging maps). They create the opportunity for new customer incentives and relationships with retailers like restaurants, shopping malls, and hotel chains.
A similar scheme is being implemented in Denmark with wind-powered EV charging company Elby turning buildings into cooperative charging stations.
Community opportunities for bi-directional charging
There’s also the potential for interesting things to happen with bi-directional charging — the ability for your car battery to receive energy from the electricity grid and share the power it generates.
There are two main categories of bi-directional charging:
- Vehicle-to-grid (V2G): energy is exported from the EV charger to support the electricity grid.
- Vehicle-to-home or (V2H): energy powers a home or business.
The latter could be interesting regarding a sharing economy as all EV owners want to reduce home and office energy costs, and charging EVs as an alternative power source could be valuable.
Manta Ray is gearing up to unveil its platform in the first quarter of 2024, with a waiting list of numbers well into the high hundreds.
"We're on the cusp of revolutionising EV charging with our Airbnb-inspired platform.
Our launch in early 2024 is not just about technology; it's about fostering a community where sharing becomes the norm. With many already on our waiting list, we're excited to see this vision come to life."
Companies like JustPark and EasyPark have turned residential driveways and garages into revenue streams, and it's an excellent time for Manta Ray EV to apply the same winning formula to the vital market of EV charging.
Lead image: Zaptec.