What is car sharing?
The very first carsharing system in the world appeared in 1946 within housing cooperatives in Zurich, whose residents had jointly owned cars at their disposal. Another project was launched in the 1970s in Amsterdam - small electric vehicles that could be booked through an electronic system, but it was ahead of its time and the project was abandoned. In this period, Europe was experiencing the peak of the era of people's cars, which almost everyone could afford, but at the same time, there were still far from having problems with parking spaces. Even ecology was not yet a topic and people had no reason or need to share cars. Carsharing projects got off the ground in the 1990s, and the first one appeared in our country in 2003. Today, there are several car-sharing services available throughout the Czech Republic that operate on different principles.
- Free-floating. Shared cars or scooters are parked freely in the streets and anyone with the app can borrow them and return them anywhere within the designated zone. BeRider scooters, which you might be familiar with, from the streets of Prague, work exactly on this principle.
- Shared cars with designated parking zones. In this case, it‘s quite similar. All you need is an account and an app to rent a car, but the difference is that cars are rented only in certain locations and must be returned to those locations (similar to classic car rental companies). An example of such a service is Uniqway, which is operated and used by university students.
- Peer-to-peer lending. People lend to each other– this is the principle behind the HoppyGo platform, which connects car owners who don't drive daily and those interested in renting a car. It can easily be imagined as an Airbnb with cars. It allows car owners to earn money by renting and drivers to rent the car they need. A great advantage is a friendly price, car insurance and a very wide variety of cars.
Tip: You can find the location of shared electric scooters and HoppyGo cars in the Citymove app.
Why share a car?
A private car is used on an average only 4% of the time we own it. In the meantime, as our car ages, we have to pay for regular service, third-party insurance, or car insurance, and on top of that necessary repairs. In contrast, in the case of carsharing, these costs are spread among all users and we only pay for the time we use the car. If we don't use the car daily, carsharing is also advantageous financially: It is generally worthwhile for those who drive less than 10,000 km per year.
A shared car (or scooter) is suitable both for people in big cities who primarily use public transport for their commuting and do not own a car, as well as for those who need a second car for a short period of time: For example, when your partner wants to take a shared car for the weekend or if you are moving to a new apartment and require a car. Maybe you just want to go on vacation in a camper van. Peer-to-peer carsharing offers a wide range of cars and allows you to enjoy and test a dream car that you would never buy yourself, or that you are considering buying.
Can we all fit in the car? Will it be suitable for shopping or a holiday? How will it be parked in our garage? Can I drive an electric car to the cottage? These are questions that you won't find the answer to during a normal test drive. We were interested in the possibility of renting an electric car and trying out how to live with it. HoppyGo has added a new Škoda ENYAQ COUPÉ RS iV to its fleet, which you can easily rent for a week and go on a trip for a good price. So we decided to take advantage of this offer and test both the service itself and this new car. Our colleague volunteered and wrote us a report about the electric car trip, which you can find on the HoppyGo blog.