On average, privately owned cars are used less than an hour a day. When you’ve got a city full of cars that are parked for 23 hours every day, occupying valuable public space, you’ve got a problem. The answer? Car-sharing.
The discrepancy between reducing the need for a vehicle whilst remaining flexibly mobile gave rise to the idea of several people sharing one car – and thus, car-sharing was born. The idea is booming, and the number of users in the car-sharing space is expected to reach 58,3 million by 2025 (Statista).
It’s easy to see why. In a recent Global Automotive Consumer study from Deloitte, it was highlighted that the so-called Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1994) desire connectivity and convenience and are choosing from an ever-increasing range of transportation types for getting around their cities.
Various forms of the car-sharing model exist. The concept most frequently in use in cities is flexible car-sharing or free-floating car-sharing without fixed pick-up and drop-off locations. This is the case with SHARE NOW. The free floating car-sharing service, founded in 2019, is a joint venture between BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG.
Cars are distributed in cities within a defined business area and can be spontaneously and flexibly picked up and dropped off there at any time. Registered members can search for cars in their vicinity via their smartphones and can either reserve one for 20 minutes free of charge, or simply rent one on the spot.
There are no annual or monthly fees for members. Billing is calculated on a per-minute basis, according to the selected model and rate. Some car-sharing services offer hourly and daily rates too. Fuel, taxes and insurance are all included.
Crucially, all of this is done digitally via a smartphone app, including registration, unlocking cars, payment, and even the validation of your driver’s licence.
In its infancy, car-sharing was typically used for single journeys lasting anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour. Pricing was handled on a per-minute basis, as this was the dominant way drivers used car-sharing services.
Since car-sharing has matured over time, with more premium, long-range cars entering fleets, the enthusiasm for a wider range of use cases has developed. Long-term car-sharing - a term typically used to describe rentals from several hours to several days, is becoming more popular.
Car-sharing services like SHARE NOW cater to this need, providing hourly and daily packages for those who want to get behind the wheel for longer periods of time. Combined with the fact that you don’t have to stay within the city limits when you take a trip - you only have to start and end your trip within these boundaries - the possibility of taking a weekend road trip to the countryside, or spending a few nights at the seaside, is now available.
The car-sharing providers are incentivising long-term car-sharing these days, with reduced rates on packages of up to 30 days. It is also possible to customise your rental, with additional extras such as 100% fuelled cars guaranteed, pre-booking options, and even cross-border options for travelling between two countries.
Car-sharing is the future of urban mobility. Here are five main reasons why car-sharing is great for people, cities, and society as a whole.
The flexibility provided by free-floating car-sharing was unimaginable 20 years ago. Minute, hourly, and daily rates for car-sharing are very competitive when comparing them to the price of traditional car rental. If you need a car for five minutes, you pay for only five minutes. Want to take a longer road trip at the weekend? No problem.
Then there are all of the costs that come with car ownership that car-sharing completely removes from the equation: road tax, insurance, legally required inspections, tires changes, potential parking fees. This is all before you have even gotten out of neutral and into first gear.
The most significant saving, however, is fuel. In Europe, the average car owner spends more than 1,000 € a year on fuelling privately owned cars. When you add in all the other costs that owners pay whether they drive or not, the yearly outlay comes to more than 2,000 €.
When you consider the yearly, non-driving costs of car-sharing are nothing - you only pay when you drive, and you never pay for fuel - it’s a no-brainer for Gen-Y urban dwellers from a financial point of view.
The joy of moving around a city is largely dependent on public transport and infrastructure. But for many, car-sharing has become a valuable complement to metro or tram networks. It’s the flexibility that is key here. Rentals can be started and ended anywhere, at any time, within the home area. You can afford to be completely spontaneous about how to get from A to B.
When you factor in the fact that everything you need to jump in a car and drive to your destination is already in your pocket - from registration to the rental process, everything can be done easily via smartphone - then car-sharing becomes just another service alongside buses and the subway.
With car-sharing, urban residents have the flexibility of a car without the costs and hassle of actually owning one. It’s the car-sharing providers that take care of servicing and upkeep. As a practical addition to the urban mobility mix, flexible car-sharing fulfils both the desire for spontaneous mobility and sustainability considerations.
Car-sharing helps cities with the reduction of congestion, air pollution and the shortage of parking spaces anyone who has driven in a big city will have experience of.
Each car-sharing car replaces between eight to twenty private cars in the city, freeing up valuable space for living. A car-sharing car is used up to six times more often than a private car, meaning cars spend more time where they belong - on the road - and not sitting static, clogging up our city streets.
In Berlin, this accounts for more than 12,000 square metres of parking area being freed up. In Munich, the figure is 5,600 square metres. Thanks to car-sharing services in Munich, 41 million fewer kilometres are driven with a private car each year. Around 11 million kilometres per year driven with car-sharing replace some 52 million kilometres driven privately. The story is the same in cities all over Europe.
In addition, older cars, less eco-friendly cars are replaced by new, low-emission and electric cars. Car-sharing fleets already boast significantly lower CO2 emissions than the average cars registered in Germany. In addition, thanks to the growing number of electric cars in car-sharing fleets, airborne and noise-related emissions in cities can also be further reduced. The use of electric cars in free-floating car-sharing is a logical extension of the sustainable concept of car-sharing.
Depending on your location and choice of car-sharing service, BMW, Fiat, Mercedes-Benz, MINI and smart models are available to drive. Thanks to the unique pricing model car-sharing offers, premium and - dare we say it - even luxurious models are now affordable. Perhaps the best example of this is the availability of convertible cars. Soft-tops are typically very expensive from traditional car rental providers, but with car-sharing, taking a road trip on a sunny afternoon, with the wind in your hair, is suddenly an attractive option.
For hundreds of thousands of users, the electric car-sharing service provided by SHARE NOW and other providers offer a first and simple introduction to electro-mobility. If you’ve ever driven an all-electric car, you’ll understand why the experience is so popular with car enthusiasts. All the power, all the torque, all of the time. If you’ve never driven an EV but are interested in experiencing the future, car-sharing is your chance to try it.
Experts agree that car-sharing will continue its rapid growth over the next few years. Technological developments, such as autonomous driving and the increasing linkage of mobility solutions, as well as alternative driving modes, are set to shape tomorrow’s mobility.
In the long term, autonomous sharing fleets will significantly lower the need for owning a car in cities. In the not-so-distant future, autonomous car-sharing cars will be able to come to customers on their own. After a trip has been driven, the car can be redirected to where the demand is currently highest - based on intelligent algorithms.
The vehicle will virtually be in constant use, improving its efficiency. The current demand for car journeys can, therefore, be met with significantly fewer cars because they will be better utilised. Fewer cars will be needed to ensure available mobility for all. That’s the dream, and it’s just around the corner.
In addition, public transport, sharing services and other mobility services will interconnect even more closely in the future, making it easier for people in cities to switch to shared, networked mobility. Only a dependable, comfortable, highly available and optimally connected mix of a range of mobility solutions has the potential, in high-density inner-city areas, to motivate people to permanently switch from their own cars to these alternative options.
City residents are already moving within an increasingly seamless network and sustainable ecosystem that combines car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodality from a single source. The common goal is a unified, comprehensive and digital mobility solution for a better life in a networked world.
The app is your key to car-sharing. Find, reserve, and unlock SHARE NOW cars in less than 2 seconds. It's a new way of car rental – no paperwork, no rental offices, no waiting lines. Try it now:
1. Download the SHARE NOW app
The app is free and your key to all our cars.
2. Upload your driver's licence
We'll validate your licence in the app.
3. Validated? Start driving!
Look for a car and start your first trip.