The number of people using carsharing services worldwide is forecasted to grow from 6.5 million people today to 26 million people in 2020, research suggests.
Berg Insight is also forecasting that the number of cars used for carsharing services will grow from 123,000 to 450,000 by the end of 2020.
Carsharing is one of many car-based mobility services that have become available for people that want to complement other modes of transportation with car-based mobility occasionally.
Examples of other car-based mobility services include traditional car rental, carpooling, ridesharing, taxi and ridesourcing services.
CarSharing companies offer members access to a fleet of shared cars 24/7 from unattended self-service locations.
Usage is billed by the minute/hour and by distance driven, with rates that include fuel, insurance and maintenance.
New technologies in the form of telematics systems and smartphones are key enablers of this mobility service.
Carsharing is available in about 30 countries worldwide, primarily in Europe, North America and developed markets in Asia-Pacific.
Examples of leading carsharing companies active in multiple countries include the Daimler Group’s Car2go service, DriveNow from BMW and Sixt, Avis Budget Group’s Zipcar.
However, the majority are mainly active in a single country or a few cities. Examples include Times Car Plus in Japan, Socar in South Korea, Enjoy in Italy, Mobility Carsharing in Switzerland, Communauto in Canada and GoGet in Australia.
Today, most companies use station-based networks offering roundtrip rental. This operational model requires users to return a vehicle to the same station from which it was accessed. Some operators have also started to offer one-way carsharing that enables users to return the car to any station operated by the CSO.
“Another model that is rapidly gaining users is free floating carsharing, which enables members to pick up and drop off cars anywhere within a designated area,” said André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight.
“Free floating services are now available in 12 countries and 43 cities in Europe and North America, with a combined fleet of about 20,000 cars and roughly 2.0 million members at the end of 2015.”