LONDON, October 4, 2016

With vehicle automation rapidly gaining currency, carsharing operators (CSOs) are developing novel business models to address the evolving mobility demands of commuters. They will initially offer self-parking services, allowing members to drop off vehicles at designated parking lots, and gradually roll out short-distance parking service, wherein self-driven vehicles will be driven into parking lots. Finally, once complete automation is possible, collaboration with key players and convergence with public transport will change the mobility industry.

As automated driving will dilute the need for personal ownership, traditional car owners will gravitate toward carsharing services. Furthermore, the worsening levels of traffic congestion and pollution due to the development of mega-cities and urbanization foster a favourable environment for efficient travel services.

“The convenience, flexibility and security of carsharing services make a strong case for the adoption of integrated mobility services,” said Mobility Senior Research Analyst Krishna Achuthan. “This, in turn, will lead to a number of mergers and acquisitions among industry majors that recognize the market benefits of offering such systems and digital platforms.”

In addition to market consolidation, technology advancements and government initiatives will give a huge boost to carsharing services, with the number subscribers expected to cross 36 million by 2025 from 7.9 million in 2015. However, to achieve optimum market potential, CSOs need to counter the high insurance cost and inadequate demand in areas with low population density.

– Europe: Concentration on the 192 cities with population of more than 300,000. Only 27 have one-way carsharing operations. Therefore, major CSOs, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and industry participants are expected to launch innovative carsharing operations.
– North America: There are more than 75 cities with population over 300,000 in North America. However, one-way operations are currently available only in 16 cities, resulting in a huge untapped market potential market.
– Asia: There were five countries in 122 cities in Asia with carsharing operations in 2015. Strong public transit network, high traffic congestion, and a number of uncontested markets are expected to attract foreign CSOs.
– Africa: There are 14 cities in South Africa with population of more than 300,000 and 9 cities with population greater than 100,000. Carsharing operations, launched in 2015, are currently operational in 3 cities: Cape Town, Durban, and greater Gauteng Metro, which includes Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Ekurhuleni. These uncontested markets are expected to encourage the launch of new carsharing operations after 2017.
– Latin America: Out of 188 cities with population over 300,000, one way operations are available only in 10 cities. Lack of last-mile connectivity is likely to hamper the growth of round-trip carsharing operations.

“Physical integration of public transit systems with carsharing will allow users to book both cars and train tickets through one single mobile app and thereby, enhance convenience and drive member growth,” noted Achuthan. “In future, carsharing models are likely to expand to include peer-to-peer and corporate services on the same platform, as well as consolidate with adjacent mobility services like leasing, car rental and bike sharing.”