Millions of people in large urban cities are taking advantage of car sharing. Owning a car in most cities isn’t very practical for many consumers, and they’re turning to car-sharing platforms as a means of financial savings, more efficient vehicle utilization, and personal conveniences. Here’s what you need to know about the future of car sharing.
Tremendous environmental benefits are being realized in these cities as the number of automobiles on the road reduces due to car sharing.
The United Nations predicts that at least 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities across the world by 2050. A study by ABI Research also found that the ultimate form of transportation in the car-sharing economy will be robotic service due to its convenience, affordability, and availability.
As such, 400 million people are projected to rely on Robotic Car Sharing by 2030. There’s no doubt car sharing has become part of the sustainability concepts of urban mobility today—and no doubt that its future is strong.
What is Car Sharing?
Despite its growing popularity, many people still have no idea that car-sharing has many use cases. The general population understands how traditional car-sharing works: an individual uses their own car to get rides from point A to B, as with Uber and Lyft.
Car sharing can also be a type of car rental service that allows users to rent cars parked in a network of convenient locations in the city for a few hours and only pay for their usage. You’re given access to a vehicle at any hour and return it to specific locations around the city once done with your trip.
Members don’t have the expense of owning and maintaining the vehicle but are billed based on the distance traveled and the time used.
Car Manufacturers and Car Sharing Technology
Technological advances, increased smartphone penetration, environmental concerns, and changes in consumer attitudes towards car ownership in the last several years have driven the changes in the automotive industry.
Car manufacturers were among the first industries to notice these changes, follow the trends, and enter the car-sharing market.
Transportation services giant Penske Corp jumped into the car-sharing business in 2019, giving consumers access to a fleet of Volkswagen Jetta SE vehicles at convenient locations within Washington D.C. Customers can rent their preferred vehicle per minute, hour, or day through the Penske Dash app.
Audi on Demand
Audi on Demand is another premium mobility service, boasting a wide range of the Audi brand vehicles, from the Audi A1 Sportback to the 7-seater Audi Q7.
Already, there are many Audi car owners using their vehicles to participate in car-sharing, and those individuals may choose to buy an Audi vehicle used and then purchase an extended car warranty from a company like Olive. Audi took this information and spearheaded its own program.
They launched the car-sharing service in 2016 allowing users to choose their preferred Audi vehicle on a per-day basis, up to 28 days at any given time.
Users can match specific Audi vehicles to their unique driving needs with convenience and ease. Audi’s mobility service is currently available in Heilbronn, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Liverpool, Birmingham, Barcelona, Glasgow, Munich, Manchester, and Newcastle. The automaker is still expanding to more cities in Europe.
Subscription Models in Car Sharing
Car manufacturers are testing new business models to stay ahead of new leading mobility solutions. Some choose to partner with other car-sharing services so they don’t have to take on the burden of operating the entire service. Car companies are also offering their cars using the subscription model.
For example, in 2018, Audi launched the Audi Select, a monthly vehicle subscription service that gives users access to certain 5 Audi models.
They are also given two complimentary days of Silver car rentals for their convenience when they travel. Subscribers don’t have to worry about roadside assistance costs, Insurance, maintenance costs, or mileage as they are all included in the subscription.
VW Group (Porsche Passport), Volvo (Care by Volvo), BMW (Access by BMW), Jaguar Land Rover (Carpe), and Mercedes-Benz (Collection) offer similar services for a set monthly price.
Such models of car sharing allow customers to enjoy convenience and flexibility without long-term commitment as needed by the current society.
The future of Car Sharing
Technological advancement is set to further empower the car-sharing industry. With 400 million people projected to rely on robotic car sharing by 2030, car sharing is only bound to get better.
In a study conducted by IBM, 39% of consumers preferred a car-sharing model whereas 36% would consider on-demand ride-sharing. The study further found that 42 percent of consumers would choose alternative modes of car ownership like monthly subscription pricing.
These findings show that more people, and especially millennials are becoming open to sharing rides with others as opposed to personal vehicle ownership.
Consumers should expect to see car-sharing integrate with electric and autonomous vehicles going forward. It’s even interesting to note that power companies are already gaining interest in the car-sharing trend.
A good example is Polish TAURON which launched an electric car-sharing service in 2018. Innogy, the German energy company, also launched an electric car-sharing service in Warsaw with 500 BMW i3 vehicles in 2019.
Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels