August 6, 2021
Sharing the Love: New Concepts in Carsharing
by Casey Auch
Here at goDCgo, we love the freedom that Zipcar and Free2Move offer District residents who choose to live car-free. Today, some companies are looking to expand traditional carsharing with “peer-to-peer” programs and electric vehicles (EVs). The concepts are simple — allow individual car owners to rent out their vehicles when they’re not in use to non-car owners and introduce more sustainable options without sacrificing the convenience of a car.
Benefiting both owner and renter, “peer-to-peer” or “neighborhood” carsharing programs have taken off across the US and causing a positive shift from personal to shared transport. Car owners are able to offset the costs of ownership and maintenance— potentially earning up to $10,000 a year depending on the type of car and number of rental hours, while renters gain access to lower rates and more conveniently located vehicles.
As an added bonus, every shared car replaces approximately 14 cars on the road, leading to less road congestion and pollution.
Here in Washington, DC, a few companies provide neighborhood carsharing services. As a standard, participants are carefully screened and provided with legal policies concerning gas, usage, and insurance, as well as a car-unlocking device for easy access (driver) and management (owner). If you’re interested in trying out peer-to-peer carshare, these are two of our favorite programs in the area:
- Turo: Claiming the title of the “world’s first neighbor-to-neighbor car sharing service,” Turo (formery RelayRides) states that their mission is to “promote a more efficient use of neighborhood resources.” Their DC operation provides an alternative for tourists looking to explore the metro area and get to/from airports.
- Getaround: A west coast company created by a self-proclaimed team of “successful entrepreneurs, hackers, and business people passionate about sustainable transportation solutions,” Getaround has also been gaining momentum in the DC metro area. Each day, they empower people to travel more efficiently with car rentals from $5/hr.
According to a recent report by the Transportation Research Board, neighborhood carsharing is “widespread, appeals to all incomes, and is only slightly favored by men over women.” Lack of trust was identified as the biggest obstacle for would-be carshare members who explained they would be nervous about having someone else drive their car.
Just as automakers add more EVs to their lineup, EVs are entering the carsharing space, too. Free2Move, a traditional carsharing company, is expanding its fleet to include new, exciting options such as the Citroën Ami, a mini-sized electric car from France. Zipcar has offered EVs in its fleet for over a decade. As cities introduce more charging infrastructure and strive to meet emission goals, electric carsharing can be part of the solution.
Fully electric cars have zero emissions making them a more sustainable option than a traditional petrol car.
There’s also a new company in town that boasts an all-electric carsharing fleet called Envoy. The first of its kind in DC, Envoy is an electric carshare service and platform, providing electric vehicles as an exclusive amenity to apartments, hotels, and workplaces. Envoy electric vehicles are conveniently located on property sites with dedicated parking spaces and EV charging stations and can be reserved through Envoy’s mobile app.