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EV charger share app launches in Phoenix, promising cheaper charging

AZ Family

 Robin Davis loves her electric vehicle, but sometimes it’s challenging to find a public charger, and she’s cut it way too close. “Last night, I’m going to work. The closest one from my house was all full. Then you go to another one then they’re down, so you get to the other one and you’re out of a charge. Then you have to call for a tow truck to pick you up and take you to a charger,” Davis said. That’s happened to her twice. “I didn’t completely run out. I was smart enough to pull over in a plaza where there was food to sit and wait,” she said. “Four hours the first time. Five hours the second time.”

Now, she has more charging choices because she’s using a new app called Buzze. The company says it’s like Airbnb for EV chargers, connecting EV drivers with charging hosts. “For people who are renting their house or people who are living in apartments, they can’t put in an EV charger at home and this allows them to buy an EV and be able to charge it right in their neighborhood,” said Buzze CEO Aaron Lieberman.

To use Buzze, an EV driver opens the app, searches the map for a Buzze host nearby, requests an appointment, then drives there to plug in. “We expect people will be dropping off a car,” Lieberman said. “We’ve seen it in our beta testing. A lot of people come by at night. They plug in. They pick it up in the morning. Their car is ready to go.”

According to Lieberman, Buzze is more affordable than public charging. “We should be the cheapest out-of-home charging for EV drivers because we’re just paying the host what they pay, a little bit more, should be about 25 cents per kilowatt,” he said.

Tyler Williams has a level two charger at his home. He decided to be a Buzze host because he only uses his charger a couple nights a week. “It’s vacant and ready to be used by other cars,” he said. On a recent four hour charge, Williams made about $3 on top of the cost of electricity that’s covered. According to Buzze, hosts can make up to $400 a month if their charger is used regularly. Hosts are able to set their own availability. “We block times off when we’re charging, so it’s not interfering with that,” Williams said. “This is working!”

Currently, the company has about 60 hosts across the Valley. “Our whole goal is to eventually help get a million EVs on the road,” Lieberman said. “That’s going to be all across the United States, and frankly beyond. I’m from Phoenix. We wanted to start here, where I know all the streets and everything else, but our goal is start in Phoenix this fall and roll out all across the country this next year.”

Through November 15, Buzze is offering free charging. “Buzze is safe and secure. We know a lot about everybody on the platform,” Lieberman said. “We also provide a protection guarantee for the homeowner. We’ll cover up to $10,000 in damages if anything goes wrong, but this is really about neighbors connecting with neighbors helping people right in your neighborhood among those EV drivers.”

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