Why using car clubs can become mainstream.
Car clubs are currently sitting on the margins of the mainstream’s awareness, but knocking firmly on the door. But what does it take to get that door to open? We’ll take a look at some of the main players in the car sharing economy, and explain why they are showing signs of achieving this reality.
Zipcar offers a one way (Flex) service in London, allowing for you to go from A to B and leave the car at B. This is very useful for running errands, getting somewhere less reachable by public transport. Not only this, it is attractive if you want to take a car to a place with a lot of parking restrictions such as central London, and/or that is within London’s Zipzone. The zipzone, covers large swathes of London, so it accessible to the majority of Londoners.
Zipcar has been around for a number of years, and is probably leading the way in the UK right now, in terms of being a trusted brand that is known to most people, even if the majority of car owners are not on board yet. They say they aim to make their London fleet 100% electric by 2025. Now that might seem ambitious, but it is not unrealistic, given that there is a real demand amongst Londoners. Having driven the e-Golf that Zipcar offers as part of its fleet, I can say that it is a lot of fun to drive, and gives you an undeniably futuristic feeling.
Like Zipcar, Drivenow offers one-way trips. To their advantage they have the BMW i3 in their fleet, and this is a really nice car. Unfortunately, at the time of writing there are not quite enough cars spread around the driving zone. On the plus side, the driving zone is quite big, and covers areas of North London that are uncovered currently by Zipcar.
DriveNow prices at 39p per minute for the electric i3 are a little pricier, but you could argue its value due to the cars being a little higher-end. Overall, it is highly recommended to join DriveNow with a joining fee now free.
Blue City works a little differently to DriveNow and Zipcar, in that it has designated stations where you can park the car, as opposed to leaving it practically anywhere in a zone. You have to leave it in these spaces, of which there are quite a lot dotted around the capital. The plus side is that it is simple, all cars are electric, and at 19p per minute it is a bit cheaper than the other two. You do have to pay a monthly fee of 6 to use it though. On the downside, the cars are not as nice aesthethically, or presumably to drive, as the E-Golf or the I-3.
The major flaw at the moment is a lack of vehicles, and for this reason I have not tried out Blue City. I’m sure they are working on making it more widespread in the city, and I will be sure to test them out.