Sunday, August 04, 2013

New One-Way Carsharing Services Being Offered by Traditional Carshare Companies

For the past few years, it appeared that one-way/on-demand carsharing was the province of "the big guys" - OEMs with a vision for future mobility and deep pockets to realize that vision - notably Daimer with car2go and BMW with DriveNow.

However, in the past year several operators of traditional round trip carsharing services have started their own one-way services, suggesting they have options in the face of possible competition from Daimler and BMW services.

Auto Mobile

In North America, CommunAuto has started a one-way/on-demand demonstration project, Auto Mobile, with 30+ Nissan Leaf EVs in on-demand service the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough of Montreal.  

The pilot service is being evaluated by the Montreal Polytechnique in order to identify the impacts of the a service on users' mobility behavior.

In Germany two traditional carshare companies, both affiliated with Stadtmobil, are operating one-way services, each also with about 30 vehicles each.  


In Hannover, Stadtmobil, facing competition from VW-financed Quicar (which is a round trip carshare service, in spite of some misinformation in the blogosphere), decided to respond by setting up a one-way service they call Stadtflitzer to supplement their existing round-trip service. 

In a unique approach to managing parking and availability, Stadtflizer has a 3 zones - free parking in 3 areas near the core (red lines), a 6€ one-time charge for ending a trip within the green area and 12€ to park within the blue area.

Vehicles are located via the regular Stadtmobile website or App.


In Mannheim, Stadtmobil Rhein-Neckar  operates 35 cars in one-way service under a separate brand name - JoeCar.  All vehicles are the new Opel "Adam" vehicle.  

Similar to Stadtflitzer, pricing is in the European tradition of having separate time and distance charges - 0.07 € per minute + 0.23 € per kilometer.  The per minute rate ratchets up to 1.70 € per hour + km.  Note that the 7 Euro cents per minute charge is far lower than the 0.19 € per minute park and hold option charged by car2go and DriveNow in some cities.  So, here's how a typical one-way trip might compare:
  • 20 min. + 10 km = 3.70 € for JoeCar; 5,80 € for car2go (Berlin rates)
It's important to note that since all of these services have a limited fleet size, the operators have restricted the operating area, as well.  Whether these services will grow into large-scale operations, remains to be seen.

I will report on the evaluation of the CommunAuto Auto Mobile program when it is released this fall.