February/March has seen some positive steps for the car sharing market in London, with the publication of the final version of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and a report from the Greater London Assembly (GLA) Conservatives on the case for car clubs. The Mayor’s strategy aims to improve mobility for Londoners, encouraging walking and cycling, whilst supporting the provision of car sharing in both inner and outer London to encourage lower car ownership and usage (proposal 19). Whilst a positive step forward, there is still much work to do. The message unfortunately lacks detail on actions the Mayor will take to truly embed car sharing as part of Londoners mobility. The report from the GLA Conservatives is more clear on how car sharing can help reduce congestion and sets out specific steps the Mayor should take, for example, implement A to B car sharing more widely across London. London needs a vibrant car sharing market which supports all forms of car sharing to help address the congestion and air pollution problems London faces. Competition brings choice for consumers and drives innovation in the sector. Free-floating or flexible car sharing is a great example of innovation, enabled through advances in smartphone and GPS technology. Flexible car sharing enables users to pick up and drop off vehicles at the majority of public parking bays within a zone. This enables one-way and round-trip journeys paying by the minute, hour or day with all tax, insurance and fuel included. The positive impacts are broadly in line with traditional round-trip car sharing (e.g. in London, for every DriveNow vehicle, 13 privately owned cars are taken off the road and 6% more of our members walked 20 minutes once per week in 2016), but have the benefit of greater reach, lower costs for introduction and easier adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Spreading sharing - reaching more car owners In October 2017, DriveNow welcomed its 1 millionth member across 13 cities, taking only 6 years to reach that milestone. To put that in context, the largest round-trip car sharing provider in the world took around 16 years to reach the same milestone, a big feat in itself. The execution of modern app-based technology through flexible car sharing has been able to transform the reach of car sharing globally. More car owners than ever are now faced with the question ‘Why do I need to own a private car?’ This is no different for London where DriveNow UK has already reached over 100 members per vehicle – a member to car ratio greater than that achieved by traditional car sharing operators. This has important impact on the number of cars on our streets, with lower car ownership opening up space for other uses. Lowering costs of introduction and barriers to entry for flexible car sharing The setup costs for local authorities to implement flexible car sharing are minimal as they use existing infrastructure e.g. residents’ bays/pay and display bays. No dedicated car club bays are needed, operators simply need a universal parking permit to allow flexible car sharing to operate. The fees for the permits provide much needed additional revenue to local authorities. This simple implementation can enable local authorities to introduce more car clubs quickly. More car clubs will foster competition, leading to innovation and different models of car sharing reaching different demographics. Increasing e-mobility and charging infrastructure utilisation DriveNow is increasing access to and familiarity with electric vehicles (EVs) - 20% of the total DriveNow fleet is fully electric. In London, 60% of members have driven in one of our BMW i3s, giving many their first taste of e-mobility. We encourage our customers to use electric charging infrastructure through incentivisation. Customers receive 20 bonus driving minutes (~£6-8) when they charge an EV. Flexible car sharing also uses electric charging infrastructure more efficiently than other forms of car sharing because it doesn’t require any exclusivity over the charging bays. Infrastructure can therefore be utilised alongside other user types, reducing the overall level of infrastructure needed to support all users. Germany has proven that different models of car sharing can co-exist and thrive together, with strong growth experienced by both round-trip and flexible over the past decade. Both can act together alongside public and active transport to encourage people to give up their private vehicle and to embed car sharing in the mobility mix. A key action for the Mayor and the boroughs through London Councils is to take a more open approach and encourage flexible car sharing in London with cross-borough coordination. Positive actions from central authorities will ensure that London reaches the target of 1 million car club members by 2025.