EVs to Drive ‘Major Transformation’ in Carsharing, Researcher Says

  • Natalie Mattila
  • May 22, 2017
  • 0

SAN DIEGO — Carsharing is in the early stages of a “major transformation” that will continue over the next decade, driven in part by greater penetration of electric vehicles in carsharing fleets, John Gartner research director at Navigant Research, said during a presentation at Auto Finance Innovation 2017 last week.

The electric vehicle carshare fleets will likely be used to serve urban areas, Gartner told attendees. There is a “great opportunity” for partnerships between automakers and non-profit carshare organizations in particular, he added. Considering EVs are more low maintenance than a traditional car, an electric carshare service is a great option for subprime or lower-income individuals in urban areas.

“As cities look to restrict the use of gas and diesel cars in city centers, that will push carsharing fleets toward electrification,” he said. “EVs are also an attractive option for carshare services because it costs much less to charge a car than to fuel it with gas or diesel — although they do present some operational challenges relating to charging, which is going to drive a shift in the charging model for shared fleets.”

To that end, automakers are looking to use shared-mobility services as a channel for EV deployment, he said. “In our most recent carsharing report, Navigant estimated [EVs] comprise around 15% of the global carshare fleet.”

Additionally, there is “a lot of potential” for automakers to funnel off-lease electric vehicles into carshare programs, because “there are significant end-of-lease EVs coming back into market, and they need to deal with that,” he said.

There is a “great opportunity” for partnerships between automakers and non-profit carshare organizations in particular, Gartner said. Considering EVs are more low maintenance than a traditional car, a carshare service using off-lease EVs is a great option for subprime or lower-income individuals in urban areas, he added.

More manufacturers are entering the carshare space — many of which are by a trial basis — but in 10 years, Navigant expects virtually all the major automakers to offer some kind of shared-vehicle service, Gartner predicted.

“The [carshare] market will likely be shifting more toward large carshare companies, with smaller ones being bought out, or possibly closing their doors, as the bigger players enter new cities,” he said. “We’ve already seen automakers like Daimler and BMW make a big splash in the market — their services now make up around 20% of global carshare membership figures.”

Carsharing membership is expected to continue growing — from over 4 million members today to 24 million members globally by 2024, Gartner said.

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