The number of users of carsharing services worldwide is forecasted to grow from 6,5-million people in 2015 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% to reach 26-million people in 2020.
New research from Berg Insight forecasts that the number of cars used for carsharing services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29,6% from 123 000 at the end of 2015 to 450 000 at the end of 2020.
Carsharing is one of many car-based mobility services that have become available for people that want to complement other modes of transportation with car-based mobility occasionally. Examples of other car-based mobility services include traditional car rental, carpooling, ridesharing, taxi and ridesourcing services.
Carsharing is a decentralised car rental service focusing on short term rentals. CarSharing Organisations (CSOs) offer members access to a fleet of shared cars 24/7 from unattended self-service locations. Usage is billed by the minute/hour and by distance driven, with rates that include fuel, insurance and maintenance. New technologies in the form of telematics systems and smartphones are key enablers of this mobility service.
Carsharing is available in about 30 countries worldwide, primarily in Europe, North America and developed markets in Asia-Pacific. Commercial services are offered by specialist carsharing companies, car rental companies, carmakers, as well as public transport operators. Examples of leading CSOs active in multiple countries include the Daimler Group’s Car2go service, DriveNow from BMW and Sixt, Avis Budget Group’s Zipcar. However, the majority of CSOs are mainly active in a single country or a few cities. Examples include Times Car Plus in Japan, Socar in South Korea, Enjoy in Italy, Mobility Carsharing in Switzerland, Communauto in Canada and GoGet in Australia.
Today, most CSOs use station-based networks offering roundtrip rental. This operational model requires users to return a vehicle to the same station from which it was accessed. Some CSOs have also started to offer one-way carsharing that enables users to return the car to any station operated by the CSO.
“Another model that is rapidly gaining users is free floating carsharing, which enables members to pick up and drop off cars anywhere within a designated area,” says André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight. He adds that the ability to access available cars instantly without prior booking or need to schedule return time make this type of service very attractive. “Free floating services are now available in 12 countries and 43 cities in Europe and North America, with a combined fleet of about 20 000 cars and roughly 2.0 million members at the end of 2015,” says Malm.