Ina Fried

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PlugShare Aims to Crowdsource Electric Car Charging

It’s pretty easy, if expensive, to find a gas station. However, finding a place to charge an electric car can still be tough. As of Monday, though, there’s an app for that too.

Palo Alto-based Xatori is making available an app for the iPhone that aims to link electric vehicle owners with those willing to share their outlets. The app, PlugShare, also points to a listing of public charging stations and to view the profiles of various members of the PlugShare network.

The project is the brainchild of Forrest North, the founder and former CEO of Mission Motors and a former Tesla Motors engineer. North hopes that creating a network such as PlugShare will help reduce a common fear of electronic car ownership–the fear of not being able to find a suitable charging location on longer-range trips.

“Many people won’t have EV’s right away, but everyone has an electrical outlet,” North said in a statement.

One need not have an electric vehicle to take part, nor have any kind of special outlet. Of course, offering up one’s electricity also means picking up the tab for someone else’s car, but North contends that’s not such a big deal. “Sharing electricity from a standard outlet only costs about $0.15 an hour, a small price to lessen our dependence on oil,” North said. Besides, sharing a plug is nothing compared to RelayRides, which would have people offering up their actual vehicles for a car-share service..

In addition to North, the company is led by CTO Armen Petrosian, a former engineer at Amprius and member of the Stanford Solar Car effort. Among PlugShare’s advisors is PayPal and Slide co-founder Max Levchin.

The company has posted a YouTube video with more details on how the app works.