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A parking app wants to solve the electric vehicle charger shortage by renting out people’s driveways

  • JustPark wants homeowners to rent out their parking spaces to electric vehicle owners.
  • Chief executive Anthony Eskinazi hopes to build a “community charging network”.
  • The UK is estimated to need 400,000 more public chargers by 2030 to meet growing demand for EVs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A British company that started out as an “Airbnb for parking” wants homeowners to rent out their parking spaces to help alleviate a widespread shortage of electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

London-based JustPark, which allows motorists to book a parking space through an app, aims to offer more than 50,000 charging points across the UK by the end of 2022.

In 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson forced the UK’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars forward to 2030 in a bid to accelerate the country’s adoption of electric vehicles. But the accompanying infrastructure has not kept up.

To date there are around 23,000 public EV charging points across the UK, according to figures from ZapMap. It is estimated that as many as 400,000 new public chargers will be needed by the end of the decade. By comparison, there were 108,205 battery-powered EVs sold last year alone, a 185% increase.

Anthony Eskinazi, the founder and chief executive of JustPark, said the UK was “not on track” to have the required infrastructure in place to support widespread adoption of EVs.

He said the company wanted to leverage its existing network of parking space.

“Now we want to build that network to serve today’s parking demand,” he told Insider. “We’ve realized that there’s an opportunity to repurpose a percentage of that network and allow it to facilitate the future of electrification.”

JustPark, which has over 30 public sector contracts and counts WeWork among its clients, wants homeowners to rent out their driveways that are equipped with charging points.

In some cases, Eskinazi said, the company may pay owners to have chargers installed if the spaces are in economical locations.

“In certain situations even if you don’t have an EV, then we’d still love you to list your parking space, because depending on where you’re located, JustPark may actually be willing to pay for you to get a charger,” he said.

Users will be charged for both the parking space and the electricity used. While the fee attached to parking will change depending on location, motorists will be charged 25p per kilowatt hour for the electricity, which is similar to fees charged at so-called “destination” charge points found in car parks.

“I’ll use my driveway as an example, I live in the suburbs and I have a charger on my driveway,” Eskinazi explained. “No one would pay me to park in my driveway … but I’ve got a charger and there’s a block of flats down the road where suddenly their local charging point has become my driveway.”

In addition to homeowners being encouraged to rent out their off-street spaces, Eskinazi is hoping to encourage large-scale parking operators to offer charging points. These can range from the likes of local councils and church car parks to small-scale hotels and businesses.

“If we repurpose a subset of that network and install charging points we can make a huge dent in the requirements for EV infrastructure to support the rollout we’re expecting,” he said.

The JustPark chief said that car manufacturers were struggling to sell EVs to people that live in apartment blocks due to the lack of off-street parking and absence of charging facilities.

He also said those that rent out their spaces won’t be “held back by planning permission” and other barriers that EV operators have faced.

Eskinazi said the company conducted a trial at the end of last year and that it was adding around 120 new chargers a week.

The pivot by JustPark comes after a year where the pandemic “decimated” the industry. To date, JustPark has been largely focused on digitizing the offering of county councils and car park operators. Its app allows people to guarantee their space before arriving at a parking lot.

Now the company is hoping its push into offering a “community-based charging network” with a much greater focus on electric vehicles will help it recover from the financial hit caused by widespread lockdowns.

“When I say decimated you know there are many companies, including ourselves, who we’re talking about a greater than 90% drop in revenue,” he said.

Eskinazi did not reveal how much the company’s revenue fell. JustPark’s most recent accounts revealed losses of around £2.4 million ($3.3 million) in the year to the end of March 2020, up from a recorded loss of £613,632 ($850,000) the previous year.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, said he was “fully behind” JustPark’s campaign to utilize people’s parking spaces.

“There are varying estimates on the extent of the public charging network required to make the EV revolution work, but we definitely know that those without off-street parking need more help,” he said.

“We need to work together, exploring all options, to create a charging infrastructure that is fit to service the increased numbers of EVs that will be on the road.”

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