Car in transition: using rather than owning
Just using a car when you need it, rather than buying one yourself. Car sharing offers are thriving. Is it a good deal?
Owning a car is expensive. Expensive to buy it and in maintenance. 300 € a month for a little city car and 3000 km per year, says Test Aankoop/Test Achat. To 584 € per month for a midsize car on petrol doing 20.000 km per year, was calculated by Lease Plan. Fixed costs the driver has little impact on, make 70% of the total cost of ownership. So, when you have to spend an average of 4.500 € a year on a car, maybe renting or sharing a car when you need one might be a good idea.
Maybe not for someone living in a rural area, but definitely in over-saturated cities where finding a parking spot is like hell and renting one is more expensive than renting a little house in the Ardennes. In the future access to the center of the city by car will become more and more difficult. And even the car manufacturers realize that in the city, you better sell mobility, than cars.
BMW or Mercedes have developed their car sharing network worldwide. In Brussels DriveNow (BMW) offers maximum flexibility in mobility with 300 cars (BMW 1 – 2 and Mini). You pay 33 cents per minute and you can drop off the car anywhere you like, within a certain perimeter. Launched in July 2016 in Brussels, DriveNow has 10.000 subscribers. Zipcar joined the competition end of last year. Mercedes, who already has over a million subscribers worldwide, worked for years to launch it’s Car2Go in Brussels too when legislation finally allowed free floating in the Belgian capital. But a law suit from a car rental company called CarGo blocked the initiative so far.
Zipcar, a daughter of Avis car rental, is active in over 500 cities in the world (1 million subscribers). It launched it’s free floating car sharing service in Brussels in September 2016 with 250 Peugeot 208’s, costing 0,25 cents per minute.
Back to the station
Cambio, that originated in Germany and was launched in Belgium in Namur (2002) and Brussels (2003) first, is the largest car sharing service in Belgium today. Cambio is active in 37 Belgian cities with 400 car sharing stations and 970 cars. It has 27.000 subscribers in Belgium. 12.350 in the Flemish part and roughly the same in Brussels, but only 1.900 in the Walloon provinces. Major drawback is you have to bring back the car to it’s station. The same goes for Zen Car, created in 2011 with focus on electric cars (Zoe and BMW i3) and hoping to make it’s first profit in 2017. Zen Car is investigating free floating for the near future.
Ubeeqo, a French startup now owned by Europcar, offers a modest network of 20 stations in Brussels with VW Up and VW Golf starting at 3,5 € per hour. With the free app you can choose for car sharing, short time renting (Europcar) or have a chauffeur-driven car (CarAsap).
Sharing private cars
Caramigo is a Belgian service based on the same model as the platform leader in Europe, Drivy. For a service fee of 30% of the rental price, private car owners can rent their car to other private persons for an average of 30 € per day. Caramigo provides insurance and road assistance in collaboration with Touring. A system of reviews for owners and renters keeps the number of damage cases low, says founder Alex Gaschard. “When you rent from a private person, you tend to take better care”. Caramigo claims to have a fleet of 900 cars in Belgium, Drivy roughly 1.000.