Thursday, August 30, 2012

Car Sharing Programs a New More Efficient Way to Drive

Car sharing reduces the number of privately owned cars; and a proportional reduction in the number of parking spaces needed. Car sharing that relies on electric vehicles are of great environmental benefit. They have no emissions and fuel costs are typically 60-70 percent lower than comparable fossil fuel powered vehicles. Car sharing programs are an efficient way of using a car without having to buy one. These programs are particularly environmentally sustainable when they employ electric vehicles.

Premium car brand BMW is working to become a "mobility services" company with their first EV car sharing program in the US. Their program features a fleet of 70 electric BMW ActiveE cars available at eight stations in the San Francisco Bay area. Their DriveNow, program allows drivers to take a car from one point to another rather than have to return it to the point of departure as is the case with other car sharing programs. and leave it, unlike other car-sharing programs which require vehicles to be returned to the same pick-up location. They even enable enrolled drivers to use a smartphone app to reserve a car.

The program originally lauched in Germany where there are 45,000 in the cities of Munich, Berlin and Düsseldorf.

Other car companies are also getting involved with car sharing. Daimler has a program in the US and Canada called the Car2Go car-sharing service that has 50,000 members. It launched in Austin, San Diego, and is now in the cities of Miami, Calgary and Toronto. Daimler has a network of 200 to 300 Daimler Smart Fortwos in each location.

In Canada, AutoShare was the first car sharing or rental company to add 100 percent electric vehicles to their fleet. As part of their commitment to sustainable transportation, they are working with a number of companies to install a network of charging stations for this project in Toronto.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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