Car Clubs: why choose car sharing?

alternative automobile charging

Yes and no. Car clubs offer a form of car rental but different from hiring a car from a traditional car rental company like Avis or Hertz. The primary difference is that mobility sharing schemes like car clubs, provide a member greater flexibility than conventional car hire companies.

In car club platforms like Zipcar, a member can choose to rent a car by the hour or day. Some car clubs like, DriveNow, let members hire the car by the minute. However, in conventional car rental companies, the consumer does not have the flexibility to rent by the hour or minute, and in most cases the minimum period is a day. There are other differences, some of which are covered further below in this article.

Are car clubs better than owning?

In general, yes. Most of us leave our cars parked for the majority of the time, and in some cases left unused for 95% of the time. While left unused, we are still incurring significant costs to include, depreciation, insurance, parking, road tax, repair, servicing etc. Bottom-line, car ownership is not cheap! By contrast, car clubs alleviate the financial burden generally associated with traditional car ownership i.e. you do not keep incurring significant costs when the car is sitting parked and unused. Apart from reducing costs, by using sharing mobility schemes, the individual does not need to worry about spending precious time in the service and maintenance of the car. Weekends are more enjoyable driving than fixing the car!

Are there any other advantages of car clubs?

Yes, numerous:

  • Access and convenience: electric car sharing clubs like Blue City, offer access to EVs 24-hours and 7 days a week. Booking is easily done remotely via a mobile app or website.
  • Location flexibility: EV car clubs like E-car club offer access to electric cars across multiple locations nationally.
  • Mileage flexibility: car sharing platforms like E-car club also offer unlimited mileage and you can drive one way or both ways if you prefer.
  • Wider choice of vehicles: car clubs like E-car club also offer different types of cars. Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, BMWi3 and Renault Kangoo are just some of the options. This gives members the flexibility to use the most appropriate vehicle for their journey.
  • Reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality: the EV car clubs offer electric cars that have zero emissions. However, even car sharing schemes that offer conventional internal combustion engine cars, are fast introducing electric cars and other lower emission vehicles in their portfolios. Zipcar has more than 300 electric vehicles in its fleet and this is certainly set to increase.

So what does it cost to use an electric car club?

Far less than one would expect for these environmentally friendly, smooth driving and stylish cars. Zipcar’s EV offer zipcar flex, offers pay-as-you-go rates as low as 31p per minute for a VW e-Golf to £14 per hour. The company also offers the Basic, Smart and Plus membership plans. For the Basic plan, there is a one-off joining fee of £19 with free membership.
Why not give it a try?


Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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