What is car sharing?
The ‘sharing economy’ is probably a term you’ve come across over the last few years when talking about companies like Airbnb, Uber, WeWork, JustPark, TaskRabbit etc. Maybe you’ve heard it referred to as the access economy or gig economy. Some even call it the peer-to-peer economy. Whatever you choose to go with, the premise of what makes a business a part of the sharing economy is simple and centres on the concept of resource distribution as opposed to resource creation. Airbnb doesn’t build new homes, it allows you to stay in someone else’s. Uber doesn’t make taxi cars, it enables drivers to turn their already-existing cars into one.
The same goes for car sharing. Instead of purchasing a new fleet of cars to rent out with the sole purpose of making profit, car sharing works with the cars that are already in our lives, parked around the corner, operating in our communities.
This is not to be mistaken with lift sharing or carpooling, which is more about hitching a ride with a colleague on your way to work to save on fuel, emissions and parking fees - still a great thing to do, of course!
Why should I be interested in car sharing?
The benefits of car sharing are double-sided: a car owner who doesn’t use his or her car much can pop it on the sharing platform and earn money through every booking they make, while renters can take advantage of nearby cars without having to drive to collection points, queue at counters or blow a fuse over hidden costs.
On the one hand, car sharing actually encourages people to recognise the burden involved in owning a car, from regular payments to tax to insurance to fuel and so on. On the other, it gives them a way out – a neat solution that comes with the added benefit of extra income.
Most importantly, however, is the effect that car sharing can have on the planet.
If we are to reach our target of net zero by 2050 (or 2030 if you’re living in Bristol!), it requires us to halve the number of cars currently on the road. Just a 2% switch to car sharing could see a drop in emissions by 620,000 tonnes of C02. The cars we own now sit idle 95% of the time and in a post-pandemic world, this is only going to increase as remote working, online shopping and staycations become the norm.
In order to reduce emissions and save valuable resources on producing new cars, it makes sense to take advantage of what’s already there. Car sharing puts money in the pockets of individuals looking for extra income streams AND protects the environment: it’s a win-win.
You can read more about how car sharing can contribute to our net zero emissions target here.
The other major advantage of car sharing is the sense of community it can install within people. Sharing resources with those we share a neighbourhood with is key in building the local infrastructures that are critical to both sustainability and our quality of life. The money spent within a community is retained by the community. Through Karshare, we are building peer-to-peer networks that can grow into long lasting relationships, nurtured by a fast growing trend toward dematerialisation and experience over ownership.
How does car sharing work?
All of the benefits of car sharing are achieved through carefully designed technologies that enable a smooth booking process. At Karshare, we install keyless technology in every single car which allows renters to unlock their chosen car through their app using facial recognition. Without the need for a face-to-face key swap between owner and renter, we are able to make all our cars available on an instant-booking basis. To give car owners peace of mind, we have also installed driver telematics which track renter behaviour and provide a live play-by-play of the car’s usage during each booking. If any issues arise, our comprehensive insurance and roadside assistance cover will handle it.
Owner and driver eligibility criteria are in place and can be found here. Those looking to rent out a car without outright buying one are now in luck thanks to Karshare’s pioneering Lease and Share collaboration with Leasys. To find out more about Lease and Share, check out this blog post.