Energy Central Professional


QUB student's start-up envisages 'Airbnb for charging electric cars'

By Margaret Canning  



    START-UP led by a mechanical engineering student at Queen's has revealed plans for a service described as "Airbnb for electric vehicle home chargers".

    GoPlugable, led by Maebh Reynolds, wants to build an online network and charger-sharing ecosystem for EV owners.

    It would enable homeowners with EV chargers to earn money through sharing access, while offering drivers more privately-owned chargers.

    The business has received a significant boost in the form of grants and support from across Ireland.

    Maebh, who will graduate in the summer, won Queen's University's Dragons' Den competition this month and phase two of Enterprise Ireland's New Frontiers programme The entrepreneur also took part in Catalyst's Co-Founders programme and was a semi-finalist in its annual Invent competition. She said: "I have always had a keen interest in sustainability and a curiosity about why electric vehicles were not being adopted at a much faster pace.

    "When early research revealed that one of the largest barriers to adoption was the lack of access to chargers for those living in apartments and houses with no driveways, for example, the idea was ignited to find a way to overcome this to facilitate an increase in EV drivers."

    She said its peer to peer network would make vehicle charging "accessible, convenient, and community-oriented".

    "We have found that, as a group, EV owners and drivers are very tight-knit and collaborative because of the additional research they do when purchasing their cars.

    "This community is strengthened as the EV community grows, and we hope to tap into this spirit of collaboration and sharing to encourage resource sharing to benefit EV users and charger owners and contribute to a greener future.".

    It has also been named one of the top four shortlisted startups in the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Region I Start-Up Challenge.

    As the winner of QUB's Dragons' Den awards, Maebh took away a £10,000 prize. It has been reinvested in GoPlugable.

    She was one of the first engineering students to win the accolade. GoPlugable has made significant progress in brand and product development since last October.

    It wants to grow its community to 1,000 downloads by August, with an online waiting list already open.

    The app is due to launch by July and the service is to be rolled out across Ireland.

    Maebh added: "We have been overwhelmed and reaffirmed by the positive reaction to GoPlugable through the various programmes with which we have engaged over recent months.

    "As the project reaches launch we are continuing to build important partnerships with EV drivers and owners, stakeholders in the renewables sector, prospective funders and investors."

    Last month power company

    ESB introduced pay-as-yougo facilities at its EV charging points here as part of a £10m investment. It said it believed customers were willing to pay for a service that was previously free if it meant the network was well maintained.

    ESB is upgrading its EV network of around 300 local charging points, with £3.27m coming from Westminster's Levelling Up Fund.

    Drivers can sign up and charge their vehicle on a pay-asyou-go or membership basis.

    Membership at £4.99 a month is aimed at customers who use the charge points more than five times a month. Fast charging costs 46.2p/kWh for members and 49p for pay-as-you-go.

    'We have been really overwhelmed and reaffirmed by the positive reaction'


Copyright © 1996-2023 by CyberTech, Inc. All rights reserved.
Energy Central® and Energy Central Professional® are registered trademarks of CyberTech, Incorporated. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for trading purposes. CyberTech does not warrant that the information or services of Energy Central will meet any specific requirements; nor will it be error free or uninterrupted; nor shall CyberTech be liable for any indirect, incidental or consequential damages (including lost data, information or profits) sustained or incurred in connection with the use of, operation of, or inability to use Energy Central. Other terms of use may apply. Membership information is confidential and subject to our privacy agreement.