What to Look for
Will car sharing lead to a greener world? It seems like if done right, car sharing could seriously reduce the emissions from driving. You can read a full article on the environmental benefits of car sharing here. Whilst research has shown that car sharing is an innately greener option to privately-owned cars, it is possible to make your travel even greener by choosing an electric or hybrid car. This will also give you cheaper fuel, no congestion charges and potentially free parking spaces in towns and cities.
There are two different types of carsharing models, peer-to-peer (P2P), where companies facilitate people lending out their cars to those who need to borrow them, and fleet-based (B2C), where a company owns a fleet of cars which can be borrowed on demand. There are currently limited studies comparing the two models and thus it is difficult to say which is more sustainable. Whilst P2P models make use of existing cars, it has been noted that some people actually purchased additional cars to make money through the sharing economy. In addition, one study suggests that B2C members report a larger reduction in car ownership than P2P members. Due, however, to the limited and mixed research comparing P2P and B2C, the below recommendations are all P2P as they provide the easiest access to greener cars such as electric and hybrid. Moreover, P2P models have been suggested as a catalyst towards electrification of cars. The P2P model can help car owners afford an electric car and can give those who are considering purchasing one a real driving experience. Using sustainability information provided by the companies we have recommended below those doing more than simply being a carsharing company.
The brand: whilst there may seem to be an increasing number of electric cars on the road, trying to hire one can prove more difficult. Our favourite thing about Turo is that you can, firstly, filter your search to only include electric cars and secondly, there are actually some on offer (obviously depending where you are searching, we used London as our base). Moreover, Turo’s blog often discusses sustainability such as how car sharing can encourage people to invest in electric cars. In 2018, supply of electric vehicles on Turo grew 1.6x faster than hybrid or internal combustion engine vehicles and demand grew 1.5x faster.
The product: using Turo is incredibly reminiscent of Airbnb. You simply search for cars on offer by the date and location that you need them and reviews can help to give you peace-of-mind over who you are borrowing from. You get details of how many trips the car has done through Turo, as well as certain cars being awarded ‘All-Star Host’. There is no cost to sign up to Turo and you can cancel your trip for free up to 24-hours before it starts. The prices of the cars will obviously depend on the car and its owner however, we found a fully electric 2011 Nissan Cube in London for £49.50/day or £287.90/week, including fees and minimum protection insurance (£5/day more for standard insurance, £15/day more for premier insurance). There is a £25 daily fee added for young drivers (under 25).
The brand: Hiyacar are one of the only companies who discuss reducing their company’s carbon footprint, as opposed to the driver’s footprint being reduced through car sharing or electric cars. They are currently partnered with Trees For Cities who are a UK charity working at a national and international level to create greener cities. Hiyacar give you the option to offset your emissions through Trees For Cities at the checkout, we would love to see them paying to offset all customers emissions in future. Their site does suggest however that they also have plans to fund clean energy research, air quality improvement and contribute to other environmental charities. Moreover, to encourage owners to rent out their electric and hybrid vehicles, the owner will get 100% of the income from renting their car for the first three months if it is fully electric and the first one month if it is a Hybrid. Similarly to Turo, you can filter by electric or hybrid cars.
The product: the site is easy to use and allows you to search without creating any account. There is no membership fee and if you cancel more than 24 hours in advance of your booking you will receive a full refund. As with Turo, you can see reviews of cars as well as how many times they have been rented out. All cars are covered by comprehensive insurance and AA Roadside Assistance. Again, prices of the cars will depend on who you are renting from, however, we found a fully electric Nissan Leaf in London for £58.50 for one day (including booking fee and insurance), or you could rent it for a week for £272.58 (including booking fee and insurance). Insurance may be slightly more expensive for younger drivers but there is no young drivers fee. The minimum age to hire a car is 23.
We try our best to research and find the best environmentally-friendly companies to recommend here. However, if you have any suggestions that we might not know of, or disagree with any of our recommendations, please get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org .We always want to learn more about the companies with the potential to save our future.