Industry Insights

What is the Potential Market for Free-Floating Carsharing?

Find out why free-floating carsharing is becoming the new generation of shared vehicles.
Ask any city dweller about how they commute and they will paint you a picture of subway changes, bus stops, taxi rides, uber hailing, bike-sharing, and nowadays, free-floating carsharing is being added to the mix.

November 1, 2017 Free-floating carsharing, while still, not a perfectly understood term has become an essential part of many cities’ bloodstream. Free-floating carsharing is the new generation of shared vehicles, allowing users to pick up a car wherever and whenever they want, and leave them anywhere within a predefined Home Zone.

As it stands today, there are more than 30 thousand vehicles equipped with free-floating carsharing in over 50 cities worldwide being shared by over 3 million users. Break that down into about 25 different services and you’ve got free-floating carsharing in a nutshell.

These various services have not only become a crucial part of the cities they service, but also an essential transportation option for city dwellers. We can see the uptake is rapid in cities like Madrid, where the new free-floating service, emov, acquired 75,000 subscribers in under two months.

Read more about emov.

Trends show that the free-floating carsharing market is experiencing its greatest growth in Europe and in North America, with Asia trailing not too far behind with services of its own.

Why does Carsharing Succeed?

There are many reasons why carsharing is succeeding worldwide, but the principal factors have everything to do with people. Millennials are flocking to cities, demanding new mobility options and we can see that this shift is having a substantial effect on cityscapes. Millennials have moved away from the personal car, opting instead for more convenient on-demand services.

Secondly, cities themselves are grappling with the overwhelming number of cars on the road, taking up valuable parking space. These cities understand the potential of their inhabitants and to solve their issues, these cities are turning to carsharing, giving out super permits, and issuing calls for tenders. In 2016, for example, we saw Brussels release super permits for free-floating carsharing, Dubai, and Singapore following suit within their own specific guidelines.

The last major free-floating carsharing influencer is the mobility operators themselves. Historically, the market has been led by two principal global operators: Car2Go with Daimler and DriveNow with BMW.

Since 2014, however, the market has seen more and more independent players joining at the city and country levels. Evo Carshare in Vancouver, for example, launched in May of 2015 and now have 1000 vehicles, Enjoy Carsharing in Italy has a nationwide presence and Zipcar in Brussels is part of Zipcar’s expansion into the free-floating domain. Each service is successfully competing against the global operators.

Additionally, new shared mobility players will dive in, profiting from the education already undertaken and the appealing conditions offered by more and more cities. From Startups to transportation operators, insurance companies, car rental companies, and OEMs – like PSA in Madrid – the next big operators can come from anywhere and surprise even experts in the field.

Cities with the highest density and at least 100,000 inhabitants will be the focus, as they would see the biggest adoption rate and can handle an average of anywhere between 500 and 10,000 shared vehicles!

With 4,000 cities in this category, that suggests that there is incredible potential for an average of 20 million free-floating shared cars, which may seem high, but it only represents less than two percent of the total number of cars worldwide.

Other research has focused on carsharing as a whole, McKinsey researchers suggesting one out of every ten cars sold in 2030 has the potential of being a shared vehicle. From a revenue standpoint, Navigant Research says that the global carsharing revenue will reach $6.5 Billion by 2024.


top 10 cities for free-floating carsharing


Carsharing, Shared Mobility