Shifting the gear on EV ownership through affiliate partnerships

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&Charge, a unique shopping app for electric vehicle owners, shares how it’s driving both sustainable change and affiliate impact with user rewards.

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The electric vehicle (EV) market is booming. Around 130,000 EV cars were sold in 2012. In 2022, that volume is being sold every week according to the International Energy Agency. Thanks to their growing popularity, there are now an estimated 16m EVs on the roads worldwide, and almost 10% of all cars sold last year were electric.  

Of course, the cars themselves are only one part of this massive transformation to more sustainable transport. Infrastructure has to change too.  

In the US, where Tesla’s high-profile innovation has seen its market cap exceed $1tn (dwarfing the likes of GM and Ford), there are still only around 50,000 public charging stations scattered across the country.  

In Germany, things are a little different. It too currently offers around 50,000 charging stations but across a land mass roughly 30 times smaller than America. And it’s within this context the unique shopping app &Charge was launched at the start of 2020.  

Its co-founder Simon Vogt had been involved in the e-mobility space a decade before and quickly recognised how the fragmented nature of German charging stations and suppliers brought new layers of complexity to the market. “When it comes to public charging, it’s quite different to the refuelling which happens at gas stations. EV charging happens everywhere and the charger ecosystem is quite complex. You have lots of new players in this value chain meaning that very often the price soon adds up for the consumer, which affects the total cost of EV ownership.”  

Wanting to find a way of making it simpler to navigate this complex market and to encourage EV adoption by reducing charging costs, Simon and his team sought to develop a platform that could make the experience of EV ownership more fun while delivering real savings too.  

They quickly landed on the idea of developing a loyalty platform, an affiliate business model that was already hugely popular in Germany and gave them easy access to a ready-made audience of shoppers. “Really, we were creating something completely new but on a well known and effective model,” said Simon. “In effect, we came up with the very first loyalty scheme for free public charging.”  

&Charge works by offering its users a way of redeeming points (or ‘kilometres’ as they’re referred to) for shopping with its brand partners that can then be used to pay for charging their EV. Thus, the app’s users are reducing the cost of ownership of their vehicle and extending their vehicle’s range simply by shopping online.  

More than just being a shopping platform, the &Charge app also serves as means of payment for EV charging. Thanks to direct connections with all the major charging service providers, redeemed ‘kilometres’ can be used directly within the app to pay for your charging instead of using a conventional credit card or bank account.  

As EV adoption has surged across the continent, &Charge has grown beyond its own domestic market, expanding to Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. And with newer markets like the Nordics, France and Italy on the horizon, &Charge looks set to make owning electric vehicles ever easier and more enjoyable for Europe’s drivers. 

Hear more from Simon about &Charge’s journey from inception to European expansion in this episode of Awin Talks. 

&Charge is one of the #Power100 partners featured in the Awin Report’s ‘Enabling ethical ecommerce’ chapter. Register here for your free copy and learn about the 99 other exciting partners featured. 

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