Welcome, visitor! [ Register | Loginrss  | tw

Car sharing

| Car club & car share | February 14, 2013

The recent purchase of the world’s largest car sharing club, Zipcar, by the world’s third largest car rental company, AVIS, for about $500 million hit the headlines in January. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next year or two: it would be fair to say that opinion is divided, some cautiously optimistic, others decidedly pessimistic.

I always find car sharing hard to explain because the term “car sharing” has four different meanings:

  • Car clubs (but often called car sharing): people are grouped together by a company to share the use of a car. Usually the people live in the same street. Members of the club can often also use the club’s cars in other areas. Zipcar is the world’s largest car club.
  • Car joint ownership: a few people get together to buy a car together, often a third or fourth car such as a sports car or classic car. yours2share is one way that people find partners to buy together; specialist car clubs is the other route.
  • Lift sharing (but again often called car sharing): people arrange to give lifts in their car in return for a contribution to petrol costs. This can be a one-off, usually long, journey, or a regular journey such as commuting to and from work. Liftshare is a good example.
  • Peer to peer car sharing: people rent their car to other people by the hour via an intermediary website that checks DVLA and insurance. Like ebay, reviews by both owner and renter maintain good behaviour. Get Around and RelayRides are the biggest players in the USA: WhipCar in the UK.

There are many collaborative consumption start-ups working on car sharing: cars are expensive and often used for only a few minutes a day, so any car sharing business model that actually works is destined to be lucrative. The tricky bit is finding the right model.

One of the most successful operators has been quietly getting on with it only a few miles from me in Norfolk. Liftshare is owned and run by Ali Clabburn, who founded the company 12 years ago in Attleborough and has just moved his offices to Norwich. Over the years we’ve spoken to several times on the phone, but we met for the first time only recently.

Initially Liftshare looks just like other liftsharing websites such as Blablacar, Carpooling and many others. But there is a lot more to Liftshare than meets the eye. Most of their business is supplying large organisations with lift sharing schemes for their employees. This enables the organisations to reduce their employees’ journey costs, reduce local congestion, reduce the number of car parking spaces they need to provide, polish their corporate social responsibilities credentials, and wide range of other benefits.

It also enables Liftshare to maximise the environmental benefit of their activities because they focus upon commuting, which generates more car journeys than anything else. Liftshare currently manages the car sharing for over 1200 organisations: it has a direct effect on an incredible number of cars, drivers and passengers.

Ali is now working on another big project to develop a new peer to peer car sharing service for the UK. Called CarLoco, it will be launched in a few weeks and I’ll tell you more then, but Ali has told me a little about the plans and I think Liftshare’s CarLoco really has wheels.

Car clubs: shared car ownership

| Car club & car share, Help | October 24, 2012

The terminology of car shared ownership can be confusing. Two common umbrella terms are car shared ownership and car fractional ownership: which simply mean any situation where there is more than one owner or user of one or more car(s).

Continue reading »

Running an informal car club

| Car club & car share, Help | October 24, 2012

Reproduced with kind permission of City Car Club, 0845 330 1234,

Setting up and running an informal Car Club isn’t that complicated and shouldn’t involve much more work than goes into being an individual car owner. After all, informal Car Clubs already exist within many families that have several drivers who share the use of one or more cars. The only difference is that money may not change hands.

Continue reading »

Case study: informal car club: Baked Bean Club in Lewes

| Car club & car share, Case studies | October 16, 2012

Adrienne Campbell started the Baked Bean club in September 2006 with four friends in Lewes, East Sussex, as an informal car club. The club started because they all needed a car at the same time. The car is a little Daewoo Matiz (called the Baked Bean, for obvious reasons) that was owned by one of the group.

Continue reading »

Private syndicates

| Boat share, Car club & car share, collaborative consumption, fractional ownership, sharing | February 29, 2012

Over the last six years I’ve seen many commercial attempts to make sharing or fractional ownership work, particularly for boats and property. Very few are still in business. The time seems right for this, but the commercial schemes, generally for two to six partners, have two fundamental flaws. They try to:

  • find a solution that fits all, particularly allocating dates
  • prevent the potential owners from meeting before the sale is made

Consider this scenario, a holiday homes’ company is selling quarter shares and has allocated each share every fourth week in rotation. The first potential customers have school-age children and want three weeks together in peak season. The next couple avoid travelling in school holidays but want 2-3 weeks in both May-June and September-October. The next person is interested in a whole month at both the beginning and end of the year. Hard on their heels are a couple who would like occasional dates throughout the year; they want to use the property at short notice if available.

None of these prospective buyers fits the fixed model. But if they sat down together, I think there is sufficient compatibility to enable a deal to be done. I’m exaggerating, but you get the picture.

The second flaw is even bigger. I wouldn’t even contemplate buying a share without meeting the other buyers. I’d want to be convinced that my fellow owners had similar values, that I could trust them and happily work matters out in future should something go wrong.

Is there an alternative? I think there is, but I haven’t seen anyone doing it yet. I think I could offer a process where people register their interest and indicate their key requirements, followed by matching and facilitation to introduce the potential partners, create a syndicate and manage it if required.

If you are selling holiday accommodation, boats, motorhomes or other big ticket items which could be owned and managed by a private syndicate, I’d be interested to speak to you. Maybe together we could make it work.

Car sharing

| Car club & car share, fractional ownership, sharing, sustainability | January 9, 2012

Looking back at 2011, one the biggest areas of change has been sharing cars (sharing the ownership of cars rather than the equally important lift sharing). Cars represent a huge opportunity for sharing because of the number of very expensive assets which spend the vast proportion of their time unused. Shared ownership of cars used to be relatively difficult to manage. Until recently most shared cars were in private syndicates, predominantly set up to own sports, classic or super cars.
Often the owners had found each other through car owners’ clubs. Because the cars are used infrequently, it is relatively easy to work out when the owners can use the car. The owners are also usually relatively wealthy and relieved simply to reduce the costs and responsibilities of ownership, so apportioning costs is fairly straightforward.

Car clubs like Zipcar and City Car Club have been gathering momentum for some time in the UK, USA and across Europe: the recession has definitely helped them. Car clubs bring people together around a car and manage all aspects of the shared ownership. But they generally operate in cities and suburbs. There are small car clubs in towns and rural areas, but few survive long.

A different model was required if car sharing was to hit the mainstream and I believe this has recently emerged with peer-to-peer rental. This allows people to advertise their car for hire by the hour, day or month. Like ebay, Couchsurfing and many collaborative consumption services, these systems depend upon reviews to develop the necessary trust systems. The owner reviews how well the renter looks after the car: cleanliness, tidiness, petrol as agreed, timeliness of return. Similarly the renter reviews the owner: was the car as advertised, clean, tidy, available etc.

RelayRides in the USA and WhipCar in the UK have forged the peer-to-peer car sharing way forward. In the USA, RelayRides led a change in the law in California to enable peer-to-peer rental: previous laws classified it as normal car hire and effectively made it impossible. HiGear is also pioneering peer-to-peer rental of luxury cars in the USA.

Finally the major car manufacturers are now getting involved. They probably hoped they wouldn’t have to, but they realise that car sharing may become mainstream and if they aren’t part of it, they will suffer. They also know that a shared car is often a person’s first car and they will be looking to hook them to their brand for life. Daimler has a new electric car club called car2go; Ford supplies many cars to Zipcar; BMW and Sixt car rental have created DriveNow car club (German); and Renault supplies Hertz On Demand (a hybrid of car hire and car club).

For more about sharing cars.

The Joy of Car Share

| Car club & car share, sharing | October 6, 2010

This video about car sharing was the winner of the Liftshare member video competition – enjoy!

See yours2share for more information about car sharing, car shared ownership and lift sharing.

Car clouds

| Car club & car share, fractional ownership, sharing | September 14, 2010

Daimler (Mercedes Benz), a German car manufacturer is launching a liftsharing pilot  in Ulm, Germany.  In 2008, Daimler and Peugoet started a pilot carsharing scheme again in Germany, the first car manufacturer to offer a car share service.  The new liftsharing operation called car2gether is the first time a car manufacturer has offered a ridesharing service.

(Car share means members hire a car by the hour, usually a car parked close to their home; lift or ride share means drivers planning to make a journey can get together with passengers looking for a lift.)

There is an excellent debate about Daimler’s motives for doing this here on shareable.net.

I think there are a few more key reasons why premium car manufacturers think it is worth investing in carsharing and liftsharing:

  • Even though the implication of car and lift sharing is that fewer cars are required, the cars that are used will be used more heavily, favouring cars that are better built, (just consider how many taxis are Mercedes).
  • Since these cars will be more heavily used, it also follows that people might consider buying higher specification or more luxurious cars.  So if Daimler’s schemes position them well in the car share/lift share market and this becomes mainstream then they can expect to increase their market share protecting them from a falling market size.  I believe that they are right to think this.  I often speak to people who, say, owned a boat outright, sold it, decided to buy a share in the same type of boat because then they could justify the cost, and then decide to buy a share in a higher quality boat.  This is  because they think the higher quality boat will last longer/depreciate less/cost less to maintain/give more enjoyment, and they choose to spend some of the saving from buying a share into this.
  • Finally, it is good environmentally-friendly PR, something every car manufacturer is looking for!

Sharing law

| Car club & car share, environment, fractional ownership, Landshare, sharing | August 12, 2010

I recently found a couple of great posts on Shareable.net by Janelle Orsi about how greater sharing will need changes to the law.  Lawyers will also need to develop the contacts and frameworks for many aspects of sharing.

The first piece is called the birth of sharing law and examines the wide range of sharing initiatives that people are now trying out.  As these become increasingly mainstream, some will definitely require some amendments to the law.  The second article looks at some specific areas that lawyers are examining, particularly things like:

  • how to get small amounts of funding from large numbers of people, say 200 people investing $100 in a cafe, without needing to go through a complicated compliance process
  • how to handle the taxation of bartering
  • how landsharing works on a large scale
  • who is the employer and who is the employee in a worker-owned co-op

So far, goodwill, sensible discussion before starting to share, and the small scale of sharing means has been little litigation.  But as the sharing concept grows, the laws and contracts governing the arrangements need to evolve.  I think they will.

Peer 2 peer car sharing in the Economist

| Car club & car share, environment, fractional rent, sharing | April 23, 2010

Following up from an earlier blog post about RelayRides, there is an interesting article in the Economist today about peer to peer car sharing.  As well as RelayRides in the US, there is another operator WhipCar operating a similar peer to peer car rental service.  I’ll have to try it out.  And I had to comment on the Economist’s website!

Page 1 of 41234

  • New blog (with all the old posts)

    by on February 13, 2008 - 0 Comments

    Welcome to the new yours2share blog, which has all the old postings from the old blog but is now a fully fledged self hosted Wordpress.org blog rather than a Wo...

  • Sharing in action

    by on January 31, 2010 - 1 Comments

    Do you share a house, car, motorhome, boat, aircraft dog, horse or anything else? I’m always looking for examples of sharing in action to blog about on yours2sh...

  • Newsletter archive

    by on February 18, 2011 - 0 Comments

    I've been writing a newsletter for yours2share for nearly four years now.  Except for the first few months all of them have been managed through the excellent C...

  • Home sharing

    by on June 11, 2010 - 1 Comments

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about our couch surfing experience with Australians Jeff and Gerda.  As we chatted over dinner, conversation turned, as it so ofte...

  • Successful horse sharing

    by on March 26, 2010 - 0 Comments

    yours2share now has well over 300 horse share ads, from all over the UK, from Devon to Ayrshire and Cardiff to Surrey (lots and lots there!) I’ve recently spo...

yours2share is not currently taking any new ads