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PlugShare app finds electric-car charging stations

The new iOS app from Xatori helps owners of electric cars locate places where they can charge their vehicles--including the homes of other EV enthusiasts.

Owners of electric cars who are struggling to find a place to charge their vehicles can now use an iPhone app to get pointed in the right direction.

PlugShare Xatori

Developed by Xatori, the free PlugShare app lets iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users search for nearby plugs, outlets, and charging stations. And by tapping into a bit of crowdsourcing, PlugShare also can bring together people who don't mind sharing their own outlets with their fellow electric-vehicle owners.

You can easily browse a map of the U.S. to find a comprehensive list of charging stations or type in an address or ZIP code to find those nearby. Anyone can view the map, but to get details on a particular charging station, you have to sign up for a free PlugShare account. After creating an account, you can then drill down to a specific station to see its address and the type of charger provided.

In addition to viewing commercial charging stations, you can see standard outlets offered by people from their homes. If so inclined, those who sign up for accounts can list their phone numbers and addresses if they're willing to share a bit of their own juice with electric-vehicle owners or just want to connect with EV enthusiasts.

"Many people won't have EVs right away, but everyone has an electrical outlet," Xatori CEO Forrest North said in a statement. "Sharing electricity from a standard outlet only costs about $0.15 an hour, a small price to lessen our dependence on oil."

The goal of the app is to give electric-car owners a boost in a landscape where charging stations and outlets can often be hard to find. By providing places where drivers can charge their vehicles, Xatori hopes to lessen their fears about getting stuck somewhere without the power to get home.