Stationary car-sharing versus free-floating

What is free-floating car-sharing?

SHARE NOW has never been just an ordinary car-sharing service. Since 2009, in its former life as car2go, the company has been responsible for fundamental further development of communal car-sharing, creating a new kind of mobility concept.

Before 2009, stationary car-sharing was the status quo. Some call this car-sharing 1.0, but many are surprised to hear this form of station-based car-sharing has actually been present in Germany since 1988.

Born out of the green movement in parts of Europe, organisations such as cambio, with its ‘stadtmobil’ stations, Greenwheels, and even Deutsche Bahn with its Flinkster service were already in the stationary car-sharing business. There were many smaller companies too, usually with only small vehicle fleets.

What is stationary car-sharing?

With stationary car-sharing, also known as station-based car-sharing, cars are distributed across a city or town in permanent parking spaces, often at rental hubs. The vehicles have to be booked in advance and drivers usually contribute to the acquisition and maintenance costs by paying an admission fee and/or monthly contribution.

If customers (or members) want to use the stationary car-sharing, they typically have to specify the exact period of use and the desired car and go to a static rental station, from where they can pick up the car. The car must then be returned to the same station at the end of the trip.

Station-based car-sharing services are still available today, but the market has evolved, and free-floating car-sharing has come to dominate.


More flexibility for customers

The main difference between stationary versus free-floating car-sharing is greater flexibility. Modern car-sharing offers minute- and hourly-based short-term rentals, larger vehicle fleets with different models, and the end rental stations - with free-floating car-sharing, trips can be started and ended anywhere within the Home Area.

Pricing is also more flexible and typically consists of combination or time-based rates - which can be anywhere from one minute up to 30 days - plus a small cost per kilometre driven. Fuel and insurance are included in the price and there are no monthly fees or paid memberships to pay. There is also no security deposit to worry about.

It’s for these reasons that many in the industry refer to services like SHARE NOW and a ‘mobility concept’ rather than a simple car rental service. This, then, is the car-sharing 2.0.

Phone mockup

Driving, spontaneously

When you remove the concept of pick-up and return stations, driving can become completely spontaneous. SHARE NOW cars, for example, can be picked up anywhere, with just a few taps on a smartphone.

For longer trips or peace of mind, pre-booking is still available, typically with additional extras available such as cross-border options, full-fuelled cars, and even home delivery.

The second major difference in terms of flexibility in terms of time: you no longer have to decide in advance how long you want or need a car for. If a 10-minute drive turns into a 2-day adventure, that’s no problem. Car-sharers are completely free to decide how long they want to use the car and can end the rental period at their own discretion. There are no penalties for running over your rental period, as with the classic car rental or station-based car-sharing.

Only pure usage time is billed, i.e. you pay for the time spent driving, and the distance of your journey, and nothing else. This fundamentally different approach is why mobility experts and urban dwellers are switching to free-floating car-sharing services, and the innovative and intelligent mobility concept continues to grow across Europe.

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To start car-sharing

All you need is the app

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 license
We'll validate your license in the app.

3. Validated? Start driving!
We'll give you € 5 to start driving right away.



You are responsible for parking costs incurred in private parking garages, with the exception of Q-Park Stadsplein (Amstelveen Stadshart) and WTC Schiphol parking. Additional parking rules apply.