Since launching more than a decade ago, Zipcar
, the world's largest membership based car sharing company, has revolutionized the rental car category. The car sharing model, with its financial and ecological benefits, promises to grow in prominence in the years ahead. No surprise, then, that a number of new car sharing systems have come to market recently.
: When it comes to cars, Austin is best known for camper vans, beat-up VWs, and the ubiquitous ‘Keep Austin Weird’ bumper stickers
. However, there’s a new auto hallmark in town: a fleet of 210 Smart Fortwos
that locals are sharing through car2go. Booking is available ‘on demand’—car locations can be identified through mobile apps
—which, combined with RFID
card access, makes using the service almost as easy as grabbing a cab. By offering exclusive uber-compact wheels small enough to fit in the tightest of urban parking spaces, car2go may convince city dwellers, besides those looking to bring home their latest IKEA haul, to give car sharing a chance.
: Car sharing services are esteemed for their practicality, but have offered little in the way of luxury. BMW, however, recently launched DriveNow, the first branded premium car sharing service
. Located in Munich, the system boasts 300 Mini Coopers and BMW 1-Series models available for short term rental. With a onetime membership fee of just €29 (approximately $41), and hourly rates of €14.90 (roughly $21), it makes driving in style a reality for those who otherwise couldn’t afford to cover the cost of the insurance on such vehicles. Plus, gas is included which, in this economy, is a luxury in itself. In some instances, using a set of wheels from the DriveNow fleet could be cheaper than taking a taxi.
: Recently, Trendcentral reported on how people can pimp out their own homes for rent
. Now, they can rent out their own cars too. Functioning like an Airbnb
for automobiles, Getaround is a crowdsourced car sharing service that strives to help communities pool their vehicular resources. Car owners set their own rates—the average is about $8/hour—and Getaround takes a 30% commission. Although the renter is responsible for gas, the car insurance (liability, collision, property damage, and uninsured motorist protection) is provided by Getaround. Similarly, any disputes (parking tickets, traffic violations, etc.) that occur during a rental period are handled by Getaround with the renter, making this a relatively worry-free way for car owners to subsidize their wheels.