Sharing vehicles at first glance seems efficient, but how sustainable is CarSharing really?
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Germany's streets are overcrowded with cars, and many people want less traffic, especially in city centers. In addition, it is precisely this immensely high number of vehicles that causes high CO2 emissions. One way to counteract this and to live sustainably is car sharing. Since private cars are idle for an average of 23 hours a day, the idea of sharing vehicles seems extremely sensible and efficient.
Which CarSharing variants are there and who are the big players?
CarSharing is not the same as CarSharing. Basically, four variants can be distinguished:
- based station
There are fixed locations where customers can pick up and return the cars. Reservations make it easy to plan your trips well in advance and prices are comparatively low.
The cars can be picked up and put down anywhere within a clearly defined area of use and the location and loan can be made by smartphone. Free-floating offers a high level of flexibility, but there is no reservation option. Furthermore, this is a more expensive option.
- Combined CarSharing
Some companies offer the two variants mentioned above as a combination, so you have one-stop free-floating and station-based CarSharing to choose from.
- Peer-to-peer CarSharing
Here, everyone can offer their private car for loan, organization and mediation are done through an Internet platform.
With around 2,1 million users and around 18000 vehicles, the concept is now also an issue in Germany. In this country, free floating is particularly popular, around 75% of customers use this variant. Big players are the providers Car2go (approx. 640 users) and Drivenow (approx. 000 users). With regard to the station-based variant, the Deutsche Bahn Flinkster provider (approx. 600 users) is the largest company in Germany.
How sustainable is CarSharing?
The concept has great potential to become a sustainable solution to the current traffic problem. “One car sharing car replaces 8 to 20 private cars,” according to the Bundesverband CarSharing e. V. (bcs). In addition, the car models used by the providers have an above-average environmental balance and have lower CO2 emissions because they are more modern, smaller, more energy-efficient and some are electrically operated.
"CarSharing allows a flexible choice of transport. This benefits above all the ecologically sensible alternatives to the car. In a bcs study, 40% of CarSharing customers report a decline in car use. 19% use bus and train more often. 14% increase more often on the bike. Even bigger are the changes in households that were able to do away with their own car thanks to CarSharing: 70% drives less car, 40% drives more buses and trains and 32% cycles more often. "
However, the concept does not always work in practice. People who would otherwise have no vehicle and thus relieve the road, now have flexible access to a car and drive more than before. Furthermore, the sharing concept provides a flexible option for locomotion for many vehicle owners, but not a complete replacement of their own car. Consequently, they keep their car and additionally use CarSharing.
A calculation by the bsc and ADAC states that CarSharing can save nearly 500 Euro per year. But only those who do not drive well benefit from a financial point of view. Although there are huge differences in running costs, it can be said that the concept pays off up to 10.000 km driven per year. In particular, if the ownership of a car is waived, as this, the mobility budget free of fixed costs (eg car insurance) can be fully utilized.