Analysis
4 Dec 23

Global carsharing is booming, expected to reach 270 million subscribers by 2027

The most recent reports explain the reasons for the global carsharing boom and highlight issues standing in the way of a complete transformation in future urban mobility. Urban mobility is evolving along with the changing landscapes of major cities:

  • Parking lots are decreasing
  • Cycling roads are stretching
  • Pollution and congestion are dropping as more and more people prefer carsharing over car ownership.

According to the figures released by Berg Insight, the global carsharing fleet grew 8.7%, and subscriptions surged 43.8% in 2022. The additional statistics show a continuous trend in the surge in carsharing and two regions leading the trend: 

  • The global number of car-sharing service users is expected to increase from 123.4 million in 2022 to 269.4 million in 2027. 
  • The number of vehicles used in car-sharing services worldwide is predicted to grow from 575,000 in 2022 to 979,000 by the end of 2027. 
  • Europe and Asia-Pacific are leading the global expansion of car sharing, followed by South America and the Middle East. At the same time, North America has recovered in 2022 after years of struggle by growing fleet and subscriber size by 7.9% and 9.1%, respectively. 
  • Two models dominate carsharing services: station-based and free-floating, in which the former requires drivers to return the vehicle to a designated station and the other to stations in a designated area. 

Connectivity is on the rise 

There are all the reasons why carsharing has become a popular Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) option for consumers, businesses and governments: It is super cost-efficient, eliminating the high costs of purchasing vehicles for commuting or business operations, time-efficient through increased flexibility in transportation, and greener as carsharing fleets are also in the bandwagon of electrification, taking advantage of advanced telematics to reduce emissions. 

Advanced telematics and software platforms today form the backbone of carsharing services, as connected fleets are slowly but determinedly conquering fleets worldwide, requiring cherrypicked telematics hardware and related software, pouring vast amounts of data to data analytics platforms, which harvest information to boost fleet management. Today, carsharing services are dominated by specialist companies allied with hardware and software vendors in the industry, according to Berg Institute. There are many automakers in the field, mainly through partnerships with carsharing organisations (CSOs), yet some have decided to leave the market, notes the institute:
 

Owned by automakers
Free2Move (Stellantis) 
Volvo on Demand (Volvo Cars)
Zity (partly owned by Renault)
Wible (Kia) 
Kinto Share (Toyota)
BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen left the market in 2022

 

Owned by rental and lease companies 
Sixt Share (Sixt)
Zipcar (Avis Budget Group)
e-GO! Drivalia (Leasys)

 

Some specialist CSOs by region
Times Car Plus (Japan)
Socar (South Korea)
EvCard and Liangdong Cloud (China)
Enjoy (Italy)
Mobility Carsharing (Switzerland)
Miles, Stadtmobil and Combio (Germany)
Citiz (France)
Communauto (Canada)
GoGet (Australia)

 
According to Berg Insight, the top 30 carsharing service providers manage almost 64% of the global carsharing fleet and hold about 80% of the carsharing subscribers. 

The Netherlands example 

The carsharing trend spreading all over the globe is mainly witnessed in areas of high urbanisation, as consumers and businesses are eager to benefit from urban mobility solutions, pushing carsharing among the top choices. 

There were only 14,000 shared cars in the Netherlands, but this number will jump to 87,825 cars by 2021, and the number of car-sharers will jump to 971,000. According to a report from The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the solid growth is mainly the cause of the rapid development of consumer-to-consumer (C2C) services. 

Several studies worldwide show a direct correlation between reduced car ownership and distance travelled by car when carsharing is an option. The Netherlands fits this scenario well, as shared cars replace private, borrowed, or rented cars for 38% of the subscribers and return public transport for 35%.  

Some interesting facts from the report include:

  • Figures from 2015 show that the average distance travelled by a carsharing subscriber reduced by around 18% (from 9,100 km a year to 7,500 km a year). 
  • A reduction of 1,600 km equals a saving of 175-2265 kg CO2 per year per carsharing household.
  • In the long term, car-sharers will drop their overall use of cars and start using bicycles, trains, and urban transport more.
  • According to the report, one shared car replaces between four to eight private cars, and the space saved by a shared car is around 36-38m2, reducing the costs of parking facilities and space shortages in urban areas.

Source: Berg Insight

Urbanisation and carsharing

Carsharing increases the quality of urban life by reducing congestion and pollution and turning underused parking spots into convenient public areas. Similar to the research in the Netherlands, the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) followed hundreds of City CarShare subscribers in San Francisco for 18 months. In this period, the average savings of distance travelled appear to be 13,000 miles (20,900 km), 720 gallons of gasoline (2725,5 litres) and 20,000 pounds of CO2 (9,072 kg). Additionally, almost one-third of the subscribers have sold one or more of their cars, and two-thirds abandoned buying an additional car. 

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the distance travelled by an average carsharing member in the US is reduced between 7.6% and 79.8%. But there's more to the inefficiency of car-ownership: 

  • Cars are parked 95% of the time in the US and 96.5% of the time in the UK (2016),
  • Vox says there are one billion parking spots in the US, four for every car, while some city centres use 50-60% of their real estate for vehicles. 
  • Paris will remove half of the 140,000 surface parking spots in the coming years, as the city has over 620,000 parking spaces as of 2020, transforming streets for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Representing the conjunction of cost and time-efficient solutions for urban mobility, carsharing in mobility also boosts a greener and all-electric prospect of future road transportation. 

According to McKinsey, Carsharing has a promising future, especially in Europe, where the market volume is expected to reach €4-€5 billion by 2030. Yet, there are issues to overcome to accelerate the growth. Some consumers cannot find available vehicles when needed, some use carsharing while owning private cars, and some still hesitate due to the concern of finding a parking spot. With the increasing fuel and energy prices pushing the total cost of ownership (TCO) both for internal combustion engines (ICEs) and electric vehicles (EVs), the carsharing ecosystem has to work hard to provide innovation and flexibility to their solutions. 

The main image is courtesy of Shutterstock, 1699354006.

Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen