Carsharing Services Take Advantage of Mobile Technology

A Berg Insight report mainly covers carsharing services offered by commercial carsharing organizations and companies, not peer-to-peer firms.

berg and carsharing

The number of users of carsharing services worldwide is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32.0 percent from 6.5 million people in 2015 to reach 26.0 million people in 2020, according to a report from Berg Insight.

The analyst firm forecasts that the number of cars used for carsharing services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29.6 percent from 123,000 at the end of 2015 to 450,000 at the end of 2020.

The report mainly covers carsharing services offered by commercial carsharing organizations and companies, not peer-to-peer services that enable car owners to share their vehicles.

"Carsharing services are becoming more sophisticated by adoption of new technologies like smartphones for booking and accessing the cars without the need for a key or smartcard," André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight, told eWEEK. "The adoption of telematics systems and advanced back-end IT platforms also enable carsharing service providers to launch new operational models such as free-floating services."

Free-floating services enable customers to pick up and drop off cars anywhere within a designated area where parking is allowed, not only at designated parking spaces like traditional carsharing services, Malm said.

Free-floating services are mainly for shorter trips as they allow customers to access available cars instantly without prior booking and no need to schedule a return time.

"Some carsharing service providers are also exploring possibilities to integrate their services with other services, such as public transport," Malm said. "The same membership card can, for instance, be used to travel on public transport and access cars from participating carsharing companies. More sophisticated integration is being explored, such as allowing customers to plan and pay for multimodal travels using only one travel Website or mobile app."

Other forms of mobility services covered in the report include ridesharing, an emerging form of carpooling that usually focuses on one-time shared rides on short notice, as well as ridesourcing platforms that connect passengers with drivers using their personal, noncommercial vehicles.

"With the exception of the carsharing providers backed by the large automotive companies, lack of financial resources is one of the main barriers for growth at the moment," Malm said. "Finding good locations for parking is another issue in many cases. Free-floating services can be deployed faster, since no dedicated parking spaces are needed. However, service providers need to sign agreements with municipalities to enable free parking. Free-floating services also need large car fleets from launch of services in order to match availability with demand across a city."