Another app to help electric vehicle (EV) drivers find a place to power up? Yep. This one, Recargo, was made by the founder of Dictionary.com, Brian Kariger, and launched stealthily in July last 2010. So far, the app has attracted hundreds of users, Kariger told TechCrunch. The company added new features and is pushing for wider adoption today, with a version 1.5 release.
New features on Recargo include: Yelp-like, user contributed reviews and photos of charging stations that EV drivers encounter and use, and news content about clean transportation syndicated in-app from Recargo’s partner, PlugInCars.com.
Recargo, currently available for iOS only, generates revenue through in-app advertisements, and shares revenue with PlugInCars.com.
Here’s why user-generated, and real-time updated reviews and photos of EV charging stations should prove useful to EV drivers, Kariger said:
“I took a trip to Ventura up from L.A. and I drove to where there was supposed to be a charging station. Nobody on the lot had used it, though. Not knowing where it was, and driving anxiously around this lot was just frustrating. Having an image of the charging station in context, or some directions from another driver that used it would have been helpful.
You don’t want to start driving hundreds of miles away from home and not know you’ll be able to go somewhere to charge before reaching your final destination. We use crowd sourced reviews and data from open APIs to let drivers know about things like this.”
Recargo is distinct from others in the field, like PlugShare by Xatori, in part because it is generating revenue already.
Some of Recargo’s earliest users have been in Hong Kong and Germany, according to Kariger. The serial entrepreneur is the proud owner and driver of different alternative vehicles, including: a Tesla Roadster, a Nissan Leaf and a Volkswagen Touareg that uses biodiesel.
Down the line, Recargo aims to become a mobile app development studio whose products help the makers and drivers of electric vehicles, worldwide. Near-term Kariger hopes to get an Android app out, and to add traffic data to Recargo, to let driver plan their commutes more energy-efficiently.