Image via Flickr by lynn dombrowski

Image via Flickr by lynn dombrowski

For electric car owners, charging stations are hard to come by, especially if you aren’t located in a city. When electric car owners are at home and using their cars to commute to and from work, they enjoy a cost-effective commute that doesn’t pollute the environment. However, when these owners want to travel long distances, they face new concerns about how and where they can charge their cars.

Many city governments, turnpike plazas, and public malls have made public charging stations available for owners of electric cars. Unfortunately, there are not many available at each location. To use them for a long road trip, owners need to figure out in advance where they need to stop and be able to wait at that location while the car charges. This can be seen as an inconvenience and may be why fewer people own electric car models than expected.

The Need for More Charging Stations

One of the main concerns potential electric car owners voice is how and where to charge their cars. There are charging stations available, but they are not always in the most convenient of places. Ideally, electric car owners would be able to charge their vehicles where they stay. As more of these cars enter the market, something needs to be done to accommodate these cars to better facilitate travel.

One Possible Solution

Airbnb is a website where homeowners can rent out their homes or condos to those who would otherwise rent hotels. Extremely popular, the website has disrupted the traditional hotel industry with its lower prices and wider range of availability. Travelers are able to rent an entire home for their vacation. Homeowners are able to make additional cash from space they might not otherwise be using.

Some supporters of electric cars say that creating a solution like Airbnb could empower more electric car owners to travel without worrying about finding a charging station where they’re traveling to or having to wait at an inconvenient rest stop while their car charges. People who already have electric car chargers at their homes, either because they also drive electric cars or want to earn additional income by helping electric car owners, can make money by renting out their existing charger. If a website interface such as Airbnb existed in the United States for this purpose, it could spur the widespread use of fuel-efficient electric cars.

Some countries have already started to use such an idea. In Sweden, they created Elbnb, a website that allows for a similar process. Tesla and Airbnb entered into an innovative partnership that would allow certain Airbnb hosts in the state of California to have a charger installed at their homes.

Electric cars proved to be more than just a fad. They offer drivers everywhere with the ability to make an environmentally-conscious decision that saves them money in fuel costs over the long term. With the concerns and demand for fossil fuels, electric vehicles will likely become more common over the future. For companies or individuals looking ahead at this demand, it makes sense to find ways to monetize it.

Are Charging Stations Going the Way of AirBnB?

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