GoPlugable takes a community-oriented approach to EV charger sharing
Addressing one of the primary obstacles to electric vehicle (EV) adoption in Northern Ireland, the lack of access to charging facilities, startup GoPlugable has revealed their plans to build an online network and charger-sharing ecosystem to enable EV owners to take advantage of available privately-owned chargers in their areas and homeowners with EV chargers to earn money through sharing access.
Led by founder and CEO of GoPlugable Maebh Reynolds, a soon-to-be Mechanical Engineering graduate from Queen’s University Belfast who brings a passion for product design and sustainability to the project, the bootstrap start-up has received a significant boost in the form of grants and support from bodies across the Island of Ireland including inclusion in and accolades through Catalyst’s Co-Founders programme and as a semi-finalist in their annual Invent competition as well as Queen’s University Belfast’s Dragon’s Den Competition in Northern Ireland and a Local Enterprise Feasibility Grant and inclusion in phase two of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme with support from the Local Enterprise Office and winning the High Achieving Merit Award at the 2023 Student Entrepreneur Awards in the Republic of Ireland. On an international stage, recently GoPlugable has also been named amongst the top 4 shortlisted startups selected in the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Region I Start-Up Challenge with the winner to be chosen at a face-to-face meeting in October 2023.
Explaining the origins of GoPlugable Maebh 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 apartment housing 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. Powered by a community-driven app, GoPlugable allows EV drivers who own a home charger to share access with other EV drivers who may not otherwise have easy access to charging points.”
“GoPlugable is empowering a sustainable future by revolutionising the EV charging experience through our innovative peer-to-peer network, making electric vehicle charging accessible, convenient, and community-oriented for everyone, everywhere. 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 for Northern Ireland.”
Highlighting the impressive level of research, innovation, and attention given to its software and hardware integration, this month Maebh was named the top winner of at the Queen’s Dragon’s Den Awards, taking away a £10,000 prize pot which has been reinvested into the continued development of GoPlugable and acceleration of their mission. Maebh, one of the first engineering graduates to clinch this prize and a pioneering woman in technology, was recognised by judges for the level of innovation and determination displayed during the competition.
GoPlugable has made significant progress in terms of brand and product development since October 2022, and aims to grow its community to 1,000 downloads by August 23, with their online waitlist already open to enthusiastic early adopters keen to take advantage of their ‘Airbnb for EV home chargers.’ Led by Maebh, who will assume full time duties as CEO of GoPlugable following her graduation this summer, the team aim to open the app and community to waitlist members by July this year with a planned phased roll-out of the service across the Island of Ireland and with their sights set on the UK and further afield.
Commenting on the brand’s early success Maebh said, “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.”
For more information on GoPlugable, to sign up for the GoPlugable waitlist, or to follow the team on the journey to launch visit www.goplugable.com.