Ford rolls out GoDrive across London

Its GoDrive service claims to offer flexible, practical and affordable access to a fleet of cars for one-way journeys with easy parking throughout the city.

The project started as one of more than 25 experiments that form Ford Smart Mobility, Ford’s plan to use technology and innovation to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data.

With the global car-sharing industry expected to exceed £3.8Bn by 2020, Ford is introducing GoDrive to target on-demand use and gain insight on emerging mobility trends and customers’ car-sharing habits. Ford is working with Londoners to understand their mobility needs and travel and parking patterns.

“As cities become more and more congested, people are becoming increasingly open to new means of mobility, and car sharing is proving to be an appealing model,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford research and advanced engineering. “A crucial part of delivering effective car-sharing services is to learn alongside these drivers what best meets their needs and expectations, and complements their location and existing transportation infrastructure.”

GoDrive is to date the only car-sharing service offering one-way trips with guaranteed parking. A pay-as-you-go approach, with pay-by-minute pricing covers congestion fees, insurance and fuel. Drivers use a smartphone app to reserve and access a car. Half of the fleet consists of Ford Focus electric vehicles (EVs).

Drivers can familiarise themselves with the car during a five-minute grace period free of charge. Running costs are displayed via their app.

The pilot experiment launched with 100 registered members accessing EVs or low-emission Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost models from secure parking hubs near major public transport locations, such as Waterloo and Victoria railway stations. Ford is now inviting 2,000 people to register for a free expanded service offering 50 cars across 20 locations.

It is estimated that in the UK alone the car-sharing sector will grow by 23% from 2013 to 2025. A recent Ford-commissioned survey of 5,500 in major European cities found that a majority of people consider their journey to work more stressful than their actual jobs, and 80% of Londoners said they are late for work once a month or more owing to hold-ups.

Ford hopes to build on the initial success and gain further insight into user behaviour that will help refine the customer experience. Different weekend and day-hire pricing options, and further on- and off-street parking options will be investigated.

Ford also is exploring car-sharing experiments in Germany, India, and the US that will help the company determine how to best serve global customers as they face new mobility options in the future.


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