Carsharing has become one of the mobility solutions with the greatest impact due to its capacity to substantially reduce the volume of vehicles entering the city every day. One hundred percent electric options are the most advantageous, not only because of the zero emissions, but also because of the parking and circulation facilities offered by some city councils. Madrid leads the way in Spain with four active platforms.
Car2Go, the “flexible carsharing” service of auto giant Daimler, was launched in Madrid in 2015 with 350 “Smarts”. Today, just two years later, the first fully electric platform to operate in Spain has 500 vehicles and more than 165,000 registered users.
Madrid’s inhabitants, accustomed to endless traffic jams at the entrance to the city and to the futile search for parking space, soon discovered the advantages of being able to drive along the bus lane and also save on parking without having to give up the comfort of getting to places by car. The success of the experience soon attracted a second company to the area inside the M-30 orbital motorway, Emov, which belongs to the PSA Peugeot Group and which already has a fleet of 550 four-seat vehicles and 110,000 users.
BMW, Renault and Volkswagen-SEAT are also preparing projects in Spain to join the worldwide trend which has found a perfect destination in Spain.
“In less than two years we have grown the same as other European and US cities have grown in three or four years”
Orazio Corva, Manager of Car2Go.
Just in Madrid, up to 1,000 electric carsharing vehicles circulate daily, to which we must add the hundreds of electric motorcycles which are in use in the Spanish capital and other cities such as Barcelona, Seville, Málaga and Cádiz.
A recent study carried out by Berkeley University in American cities calculates that for each available shared car up to 11 private vehicles are taken out of circulation. The kilometres travelled are reduced, along with circulation density – 30% of the traffic is due to drivers trying to find a parking space. “One of the ultimate objectives of these platforms is to free up space reserved until now to vehicles. In the future we will have parking spaces in streets available for use as green zones or other uses for the community,” predicts Orazio Corva.
The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution is one of the major advantages of adopting this type of platform. With 100% renewable energy for charging the batteries, only the Car2Go’s 500 Smarts have saved the environment 700 tonnes of CO2 in just under two years.
Madrid, model of mobility
The extraordinary adoption of the shared electric car in Madrid, which will soon be followed by more Spanish cities, is a perfect mixture of ingredients. “Naturally, there is a component related to the regulation of the Municipality of Madrid, with facilities for circulating and particularly for parking,” explains Corva. “In the Spanish capital, electric cars enjoy free parking, while in other cities companies have to pay the city council a fee, which makes it more expensive to expand the service.”
But in Corva’s opinion, the success of electric cars is due to the transport network of the Madrid metropolitan area. “Carsharing can only be understood as part of a public transport system. Thanks to the proper functioning of the underground system and interchanges, users can get to the M-30 motorway and complete their journey in shared cars. In fact, 20% of our users live outside of the ‘central almond’ of Madrid,” explains the Manager of Car2Go Madrid.
According to Berkeley University, users of these types of platform take the train or bus between 7% and 8% more, and those who use electric carsharing are also more likely to purchase an electric car as a private vehicle. Electric carsharing services are a showcase for their customers to discover the new models of the brands.
“An increasing number of manufacturers are adopting carsharing,” admits Corva. “Thanks to this service, users lose their fear of the electric car, clarify their doubts and discover the pleasure of driving these new vehicles. They are almost like an advertisement. Manufacturers know that there will be fewer private cars, due to the change in mindset. Some may not feel the need to own a car, but brands will always manufacture cars to share. And in the end, due to their greater usage, shared cars must be replaced with greater frequency.”
BREAKDOWN: ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ELECTRIC CARSHARING
Car2Go: The Daimler platform has 500 two-seat “Smarts” in Madrid. Their smaller size makes them vehicles that are very easy to park and they are ideal for travelling individually or in pairs. Like other services, “Smart Fortwos” can be used in any place and at any time at affordable prices, paying per minute, and they can be located and reserved through smartphones.
Emov: The PSA Peugeot carsharing service has found its niche in a four-seat model, the best solution in those cases where a Smart is too small. The service provided by the French manufacturer has also focused its strategy on expanding its radius to allow journeys beyond Madrid’s ‘central almond’ delimited by the M-30 motorway.