Second in our series on sustainable driving is the growing trend of car collectives.
A recent study suggests car use across America is declining.
At the same time, membership in car-sharing schemes is on the up:
Global growth of car-sharing. Graphic by EMBARQ.
Car collectives provide a membership-based system of access to private vehicles, only when members need them, thus rendering the purchase of a car unnecessary. It began as an idealist notion but has rapidly evolved into a thriving global industry, albeit one with a long journey still to take.
There’s a car collective right here in Trondheim, so I headed down to their Sandgata office to meet the Director, Leif Tore Anderssen. Of most interest for me was discovering the biggest market for Trondheim Bilkollektiv isn’t those without a car, it’s actually multi-car families.
“People living in inner cities don’t need two cars. It’s expensive for them. Many of our members join specifically so they can sell one of their own cars”, says Anderssen.
The popularity of car sharing is growing in Trondheim. The number of available cars has increased from 10 to 50 in the last five years, located at 16 strategic locations in the city centre and suburbs. Membership in the collective now standing at a record 700.
That’s less than half of one percent of the city’s population, but this looks set to increase. The collective is targeting local businesses to join up, and talking to the owners of new residential developments about partnerships. The impressive new Grilstad Marina is a perfect example, a development of 800 brand new homes that will soon host a couple of the collective’s cars.
Interestingly, electric cars are not yet part of the car collective strategy in Trondheim.
“In the future we could have more in the collective, but for now we think until a greater percentage of our members understand how to use them and the infrastructure for charging them develops. Perhaps people could own an electric car, then use our cars for longer trips”, says Anderssen.
Because they require a critical mass of members to be economically viable, car collectives only tend to be found in urban centres. Elsewhere in Norway, schemes exist in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Tromsø.
So, over to you.