A huge advantage for companies exploring the car sharing business model is their entry into the “sharing economy” that has already impacted the way people live, work, and collaborate.
Earmarked for a global compound annual growth rate of 32% by 2020, car sharing is now the subject of interest from various members of the automotive industry, including vehicle rental businesses and car manufacturers.
Car sharing is far from new, though, and there are fears over another false dawn. Current barriers including a lack of parking in cities like London, as well the ability for people to trust their cars in the hands of strangers.
That said, a new age of connectivity and innovation could see car sharing industry finally deliver on its huge signs of potential.
Among the technologies which are forcing businesses to consider the car rental proposition is autonomous driving. This has been touted as a means of unlocking growth in densely populated areas, where pick-up locations can influence someone’s use of shared transportation.
The blockchain is another area of interest for manufacturers, as shown by Porsche’s tests of the technology. Analysts believe this could be a positive for car sharing due to people gaining remote control of their vehicles in the event of lending them to a third party.
Such technologies would play into improving connectivity around the automotive landscape in general, where a good start has already been made.
Data collected from sensors around cars is currently being used to improve efficiency around fleet management groups and other operations. For car sharing, this will only help people monitor the whereabouts of the vehicles they loan out.
Soon, entire cities could become “smarter” as a result of greater connectivity between vehicles and a good press for the shared economy. Changing consumer behaviour may force out a need for car ownership, with car-sharing services putting a new and improved face on urban mobility.
Finally, no one should underestimate the potential of electric cars; another big consideration for the future. Many car-sharing providers are said to already be running “partially or fully electric fleets”, but adoption may grow even taller in the coming years.
As well as promoting a lifestyle behind the concept, electric vehicles present an opportunity for manufacturers to test new products and futureproof themselves from new laws around emissions within cities.
Car rental also forms part of the discussion here, as attempts by governments to reduce emissions and create “smart cities” could see the banning of private vehicles around certain areas. An electric fleet made available through car sharing might, therefore, be the way forward.
While the car sharing industry is readying itself for a second dawn, there is certainly enough going for it to suggest a renewed sense of promise this time around.
New sharing economy businesses are launching every week, and this will only tighten the bond of trust between user and concept.
Meanwhile, one can expect the intervention of vehicle and fleet management technology to encourage even more parties to explore how the car sharing business model can work for them.
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