Some of us take for granted the difficulty and cost of owning a car, but more alternatives exist today than did 10 years ago.
While many view car ownership as a monthly lease or financing payment, owning a car for others requires finding a place to keep it and perhaps the need to keep moving it around.
That's where car sharing comes in. Whether the restrictions are financial, spatial, or—in the case of one Asian city-state—imposed by the government, car sharing can bring mobility to people who otherwise don't want or can't afford to own a car outright.
Singapore sits on a total 278 square miles, a scarcity of land that keeps it looking for ways to advance its goal of zero net car growth beginning next February.
According to Reuters, the city has contracted with BlueSG, part of the French Bolloré Group, to operate an electric car-sharing service that it hopes will help it achieve that goal.
The company is planning for a fleet of 1,000 electric hatchbacks and 2,000 charging stations at 500 locations in Singapore by 2020.
BlueIndy electric-car sharing station and European Bollore BlueCar, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 2014
Eighty cars and 32 charging stations were available at its launch last week.
The service will use a two-tiered approach: Those looking to grab a vehicle and go will pay the equivalent of $0.37 USD per minute, while locals who plan to use the vehicles more often can pay an annual subscription fee that gives them a reduced rate of $0.24 USD per minute.
BlueSG's parent Bolloré is no longer a fledgling startup. The company runs the world's largest car-sharing service in Paris, known as Autolib, and builds its own cars for that purpose.
Once the Singapore rollout is in full swing, the company expects it to become the second-largest car sharing service globally.
That's likely welcome news for many who live in the Asian city-state, as cars there generally cost about four times what they cost in the U.S. due to high registration fees and other taxes.
Bolloré runs a similar service in Indianapolis, called BlueIndy, in which it plans to roll out 500 cars and 200 charging stations in total.
Bolloré BlueCar electric car used for Autolib' car-sharing service in Paris, September 2012
The French car-sharing service operated in the Midwest also allows owners of electric vehicles to charge at its stations in the city through a blended subscription and pay-per-use model.
The Bolloré BlueCar uses a 30 kilowatt-hour solid-state lithium-metal-polymer battery pack, and can drive up to 150 miles on a single charge.