2020 has undoubtedly been a year like no other. For an early stage business like ourselves, it came with a wealth of challenges to tackle alongside opportunities to embrace. No doubt the pandemic has impacted our business, but we have emerged stronger with much to be grateful for and a lot to look forward to in 2021. Here’s a little peak at what we got up to...
When Covid-19 caused the UK to lock down, our existing airport car sharing business, Car & Away, based at Gatwick and Bristol Airport, was put on hold as travel volumes decreased significantly.
Car & Away rebranded as Karshare and launched a community car sharing scheme, aimed at sourcing car owners who would be happy to donate their vehicles for free to help mobilise front line workers and their services.
We formed a partnership with ALD Automotive to provide 33 more vehicles to support health workers and voluntary sectors such as food banks. Karshare also received an official letter of thanks from NHS England!
Cumulatively, we received 684 vehicle pledges from owners supporting the scheme across Bristol, Brighton, London, Manchester and Leeds.
By August, we were able to arrange over 9,200 free rental days for key workers across the nation and witnessed the intrinsic sustainability benefits of car sharing. After speaking with customers, we found that every 1 car shared could remove 14 off the road, drastically reducing emissions and contributing toward the UK’s net zero ambitions. This underlined the core purpose of Karshare – to enable a world to do more with less.
That month we also expanded our scheme into Bristol, creating an opportunity for more car owners to share their cars with others and earn extra income.
In doing so, we became the first community car sharing provider in Europe to offer 100% instantly bookable cars using our smart keyless technology.
Our paid scheme officially launched whilst we maintained our pledge to continue supporting key workers, mobilising a further fleet of vehicles to cover essential services and the charity sector until March 2021.
The Bristol Karshare community continued to grow with 100 new members joining as renters and owners. We also sourced vans for Caring in Bristol and North Bristol foodbank to support their vital services in the city.
We launched our unique Lease and Share scheme, working with leading leasing providers to enable our community to lease a new vehicle and share it via our platform. It marked an industry first and a pioneering move which will unlock earning potential for millions of people. We have since focused on extending Lease & Share to electric vehicles, discovering new ways of making them even more sustainable through car sharing.
With 2021 just around the corner, we are close to onboarding our 100th car owner, and on our way to 100 rentals in December. Our fundraising continues to gather great traction with our Seedrs campaign close to over-funding thanks to our generous supporters helping to drive us positively into 2021.
What will 2021 bring?
After a year like 2020, it is hard to predict – but one thing we can say for certain is that Karshare will be bringing community car sharing to more of the country and working to improve our tech to create the simplest car rental solution around, dedicated to enabling our owners and renters to build a more sustainable, shared future where we can do more with less.