Car makers left, right and centre are readying car-sharing services as they look to diversify their business model beyond just selling cars.
There are predictions that 70% of the global population will soon be in big cities, which is why it’s so sensible for automotive firms to wise up to car-sharing.
But the UK isn’t playing ball. Earlier this year, French-owned Bluecity abandoned its fleet of red EVs having secured deals with only three London boroughs.
BMW and Daimler-owned DriveNow also pulled out the city, saying: “Although more and more Londoners integrated our service in their daily mobility behaviour, we had to face the hard reality that we could still not convince enough people to do so.
“Furthermore, we had to face local factors, like the high costs of operation and the different circumstances in the individual boroughs.”
It’s a different story elsewhere. Citroën revealed its Ami two-seater in February, whose primary aim is to appeal to car-sharers. It will launch in Paris later this year through Free2Move, Citroën parent firm PSA's offering, and cost 22p per minute to drive.
But there are no plans to bring the quirky electric quadricycle here. Citroën marketing chief Arnaud Belloni said: "In the UK, it will come later - if it comes.” UK marketing director Souad Wrixen told Autocar that British consumers aren't yet open to car sharing in the way that the French are.
Volvo is another brand that has long talked about car sharing, having launched its subscription service for cars. A spokesman said: “The technology exists for a digital car-sharing service in the UK. We're monitoring the technology, and with sufficient customer demand and the support of the insurance industry, we will consider its introduction in due course.”
Renault has a popular service in France called Renault Mobility. In Paris, the most popular age group for its service is 34-38-year-olds. But while Renault supplies Renault Zoes to a couple of UK car-sharing clubs, it's yet to commit to bringing its own service here.