Unlike gasoline cars, which can be a total pain to drive in inner-city environments, electric cars are quiet, easy to use, and don’t waste energy when stuck in traffic, making them ideal for use in urban car-sharing programs.
It’s no surprise then that there are several car sharing services around the world which use electric vehicles instead of gasoline vehicles, predominately in parts of Germany, Estonia and France. But now we can add two more cities to the list of locations where you’ll find an EV car sharing scheme: Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.
In a joint collaboration between Nissan Europe and ALD Automotive, the two new car sharing schemes will let customers rent an all-electric Nissan LEAF by the hour, or for as long as they need, to travel to business meetings, run errands, or even make important deliveries. Unlike some car sharing schemes — which require registered users to us an RFID ‘smart card’ to gain access to the card, the Spanish system uses a special smartphone app to allow users to find and book their nearest car, as well as provide the door unlocking and ignition functions normally found in a traditional car key.
In total, twenty-three Nissan LEAFs will be part of the scheme, split between the two Spanish cities. As well as cutting down the hassle of renting a car, the scheme will likely be most useful to small boutique businesses and sole traders, who may not even own a car or have space to park one outside their office or workshop — but still need one occasionally for work-related tasks.
The new car share scheme also makes it possible for business who can’t afford to buy an electric car for themselves to benefit from the cheap running costs and green credentials that come from using an EV — just by renting an EV when they need to.
Pedro Malla, CEO of ALD Automotive, said: “With this delivery of 23 Nissan electric vehicles we are kicking off a service which is designed to maximise the use of EVs by businesses and which reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship.”
Both spanish schemes are based on already successful rental schemes in Estonia and Germany, where drivers pay just €6 for the first hour of use, and €3 for every subsequent hour, equalling a total cost of no more than €30 in any 24-hour period.
Included in the rental is unlimited use of local rapid charging networks, meaning it’s possible to rent an EV and drive several hundred kilometres if needed, reinforcing that the cars aren’t just suited to city life.
As well as providing a great environmental benefit to host cities, EV car sharing schemes are also an ideal way for would-be EV owners to get a real-world experience of owning an EV without the annoying presence of a car dealer. Instead of having to stick to a test-drive route, or answer questions about what you’re looking for in your next car, you can enjoy the drive and test the car in your own way and at your own speed.
We’re hopeful that all-electric car sharing schemes gain popularity across Europe and around the world, and hope that one day, we may not even need to own our own car at all.
What do you think?
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