Still, analysts expect rapid growth in car sharing, particularly one-way schemes. The Frost & Sullivan consultancy has said there could be 800,000 car club members by the end of the decade in London compared with about 170,000 members today. The one-way model is expected to account for almost half of car-sharing trips in London by 2020, from about 15 per cent today. Zipcar is testing the one-way model in Boston and French tycoon Vincent Bolloré plans to launch the Autolib’ electric car rental network in London next year.
DriveNow customers pay a registration fee and can then drive models such as the Mini and the electric i3 on a pay-per-minute basis. Access to the vehicles is via a smartphone app or bank card. Insurance, car tax, car parking tickets are all included.
The growth in car sharing presents a big threat to established carmakers – which is why manufacturers including Volkswagen and Peugeot-Citroën are pushing into the sector.
AlixPartners, the consultancy, has estimated that just one car sharing vehicle takes out 32 personal purchases. Brokerage Aviate Global has estimated that just 5 per cent growth in car sharing by the end of the decade could halve US auto sales.
“Household vehicles are beginning to feel like stranded assets: high in cost, but utilised only 4 per cent of the time on average in a 24-hour day,” said Gary Paulin, partner at Aviate Global.