The electric sharing revolution
Sharing electric vehicles in cities is a huge opportunity to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions and drive down the costs of mobility — all at the same time. "The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing."— Sadiq Khan, mayor of London
Across the world, people in cities suffer from toxic air pollution caused by transport. The sooner we switch to sustainable electric transport, the brighter our future will be. Sharing electric vehicles in cities is a huge opportunity to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions and drive down the costs of mobility — all at the same time. Sharing cars
Owning a car in a city is a hassle. Owners are responsible for parking, servicing, maintenance, repairs and insurance. Worse, these cars sit unused on the curb or in the garage most of the day. Car ownership is bound to be increasingly expensive and undesirable in cities. Many people will be relieved when they can opt for 'mobility as a service'.
We're currently at the very beginning of seamless car sharing, made possible thanks to the smartphone. Having access to a car instead of owning it offers significant benefits to users. When monthly costs will be much lower, many people will be incentivised to switch to mobility as a service. Especially in urban areas, access to cars will crowd out the more expensive ownership model.
Some of this is already happening today. In the Netherlands, there are several established services which allow vehicles to be shared between individuals, such as Greenwheels and Snappcar. Car manufacturers also start to recognise the promise of mobility as a service and have been actively investing in car sharing services. General Motors has acquired a stake in ride-sharing company Lyft and introduced a service called MAVEN which allows users to rent a vehicle from a shared fleet of (electric) cars. BMW owns a car sharing services called DriveNow and Daimler has a subsidiary Car2go which operates Smarts in several cities around the world. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla owners can soon rent out their Tesla when they're not using it. Much more electric kilometers
Privately owned cars last for 15–20 years, and drive something in the order of 15.000 kilometres per year. Shared cars will be used much more intensively than privately owned cars, because a shared car can be rented out every single day, several times a day. This is a perfect opportunity for electric vehicles to maximise their potential. The electric drivetrain operates up to four times more efficiently than the internal combustion engine. Despite higher upfront costs, electric vehicles (EVs) are therefore cheap to operate. Because they have less moving parts, EVs are almost maintenance free. These factors make them unbeatable on a per kilometre price. A shared EV will not drive 15.000 kilometers per year but 50.000 or even 100.000 kilometers per year — just like taxis do today.When shared EVs take off, the share of electric kilometres driven could therefore increase much faster than the number of electric cars on the road, accelerating the transition to electric mobility. This is a fundamental insight that not many people have yet taken into consideration. Better air quality and less parking
Cities are increasingly banning polluting vehicles to increase air quality. The permits that allow taxis, buses and car sharing services to operate in cities will come with increasingly strict, zero-emission regulations. At the same time cities are promoting the use of electric vehicles by offering subsidies, tax breaks and other incentives. It makes sense for cities to focus their effort on EVs which drive a lot: buses, delivery vans, taxis — and shared EVs. A fleet of shared EV can be considered as such a form of public transport. Instead of trying to get people to buy electric cars, incentivising high mileage shared vehicles to go electric offers more return on investment. One shared EV can replace several fossil fueled cars, allowing cities to improve air quality much faster than previously thought possible.
Shared EVs could greatly improve the quality of living in cities. Shared cars will free up a lot of parking spaces which can be used for other purposes like biking lanes, pedestrian areas, parks and trees. Cities could become more liveable for people and more beautiful too. The city of Amsterdam, with its Unesco World Heritage inner city canals, can finally be freed from thousands of cars. Robotaxi revolution
Cars that drive themselves are no longer science fiction. The moment when cars can drive autonomously under most conditions is drawing closer. (Level 4 autonomy-— self driving under most conditions — is what we'll be referring to as "autonomy"). Tesla already ships their electric cars with radar and cameras. Elon Musk has stated that autonomous driving will be achieved through software updates before 2018. Many major car companies have efforts underway that should lead to autonomous vehicles on the road in the early 2020s.