Advertisement

New European Trend: Renting Tiny Cars...By The Minute

 
Follow Antony

daimler smart car2go 001

daimler smart car2go 001

Enlarge Photo

We're all familiar with daily car rental. Even hourly car rental is becoming a growing trend, with car-sharing services allowing you to pick up a car somewhere in a city and deposit it somewhere else, paying for the hours in between.

In Europe, things are taken one step further, with rental by the minute.

Popular Daimler-owned car-sharing service Car2Go is flooding the streets of Berlin, Germany, with Smart ForTwos as part of its by-the-minute rental service, attracting those who might not need--or be able to afford--a car. For many, the concept of not owning a car but being able to use one when required makes a lot of sense.

While the fleet of distinctive blue and white Smarts partly takes aim at BMW, whose DriveNow rental fleet is now half that of Car2Go's 1,000-strong ForTwo fleet, it's also a burgeoning business, reports Bloomberg.

Car-sharing membership in Europe is expected to rise from 700,000 at the end of last year, to a staggering 15 million by 2020. As the cost of driving rises, many are discovering that they can do without owning a car altogether

City centers in Europe are becoming increasingly car-unfriendly, with traffic, road-charging schemes and restrictions. Throw in a wealth of excellent public transport options in the average European city, and the appeal of car ownership is waning for city-dwellers.

For making short trips, like a commute to work, the benefits of car-sharing are clear. Both Daimler's Car2Go and BMW's DriveNow services charge an identical 29 cents per minute in Berlin, making short drives quite cost-effective--particularly since there's no worries over paying for parking or gasoline.

The services also have an ulterior motive. With car ownership among younger drivers expected to dwindle over the coming decades, short-term rentals are vital to carmakers for getting people behind the wheel of their products. Automakers can make money in the short term via the rentals, but also encourage users to stick with the brand if they decide to buy their own car.

While the U.S. market is still very different to that of Europe, car-sharing is still growing in popularity, with Car2Go now operating in several cities (with some even going electric), and other firms like Zipcar also making car-sharing incredibly easy.

Is short-term car rental the future of personal transportation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

+++++++++++

Follow GreenCarReports onFacebook and Twitter.



Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (3)
  1. On the radio this weekend they were saying that transportation is the second largest expense in American homes (after the home itself). Transportation costs are higher than food costs.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. It sounds like it is working good in Europe, but here in America the share owners would place the per minute charge so high that it wouldn't make sense. Just like the price of an apartment in America costs more than the payment on a house. Rent or own, it makes more sense and cheaper to own a vehicle or house in America. It would be nice though to see those little three wheel vehicles sitting around town so people who cannot drive or afford to buy being able to rent one when they need it.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  3. Realistically, there's not much difference between renting/owning a car (or indeed renting an apartment/paying mortgage payments) over here in Europe, but we seem to be screwed over by the extra stuff, like fuel costs, parking, road taxes and so-on (or for houses, huge deposits that kill the market for first-time buyers), which does make rental attractive for city types.

    If my own hometown was adequately set up for a rental scheme, I'd seriously consider it myself. Unfortunately, it isn't really suitable.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
New Car Price Quotes
Update ZIP
We care about your privacy. By submitting your request, your data will be subject to our Privacy Policy and Terms and you agree that the dealers checked above may contact you using an auto dialer or an automated message.

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC.