Car-Share’s Role in Promoting e-Mobility

Electric car sharing will be a testing ground for mobility solutions of the future but the nature of sharing programs raises numerous challenges including vehicle availability and rapid recharging.

Major automakers like BMW and Daimler are teaming up to provide a more complete portfolio of vehicle sharing options, while car companies like Seat are also working on mobile app development to further streamline sharing services. “With any sharing solution, there are many difficulties and challenges to overcome, which EV sharing will serve as a test bed for,” Nick Maynard, senior analyst at Juniper Research, told TU-Automotive.

For example, apps that power sharing solutions need to be effective in showing vehicle availability and facilitating payments. “Behind the scenes, vehicle availability and charge level will be a crucial element for vendors to get right,” Maynard explained.

He said by ironing out those common elements first, vendors would be better able to ensure success in future for other mobility solutions. “For example, by enabling seamless app access to EVs, vendors will enable users to access on demand transport in an easy way, with low friction, he said. “Friction will be low, as setting up as a driver is as easy as scanning the license.”

However, Maynard noted this would just be as a stopgap measure until public transport becomes fully demand responsive, which he said would reduce the requirement for individual vehicles. He also explained these services can work with EV car sharing to solve the last mile challenge. “By collocating car drop off points with scooter and bike docks, the last mile challenge can be effectively solved,” Maynard said. “However, this will require coordination by different transport providers, as part of a mobility-as-a-service system.”

Currently, two leaders have merged into one new entity following the merger of Daimler and BMW’s mobility solutions, car2go and DriveNow. At this point in time, however, electric vehicles only make up a small proportion of their fleets but, as charging systems and the sharing model evolve, Maynard said he expects that proportion to increase rapidly. “The ecosystem for autonomous vehicles and mobility-as-a-service are still developing, however autonomous vehicles will play a large role in MaaS ecosystem,” he said. “With the increasing inclusion of technology in vehicles, AVs will enable a greater amount of data to be collected on individual journeys to be analyzed for greater operational efficiencies.”

Fabian Simmer, digital officer at Seat, explained cities will have increasingly higher populations and will become large urban centers, where mobility services will have to be reconsidered and new solutions will be required that only a few years ago were unheard of. “At Seat we are taking our first steps in providing new mobility services and the experience in Madrid is very positive,” Simmer said.

However, he noted this kind of service is as yet not profitable, especially owing to the high cost of the vehicles and the operations, which require an optimization process. “Our challenge is to create and develop products that can extend the service life of vehicles, thereby optimizing the cost of this kind of mobility alternatives,” Simmer said.

At the Smart City Congress Seat presented its first vehicle that is not a car – the eXS kickscooter powered by Segway in Madrid. Simmer said explained everything points towards private mobility in large cities like Madrid being restricted and individual mobility will be managed via platforms. “We will have different vehicles, all zero emissions, as well as rental cars by the minute, autonomous taxis or new collaborative tools,” Simmer said. “In this sense we have the capacity to develop both the services and the products that can adapt to them, such as electric scooters and other options of individual mobility.”

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