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1-Way Carsharing Cuts # Of Cars, Miles Traveled, & Emissions (Car2Go Study)

As I noted a couple of months ago, I’m working with a few guys here in Poland to launch electric carsharing in the country. The former utility VP, LEAF owner + courier company and solar installation company founder, and cleantech activist + translation company cofounder, and I have been moving forward with our plans, but one of the trickiest questions is how much flexibility to give carsharing users regarding where they leave the cars (flexibility which comes with sacrifices, such as uncertainty for users regarding where to find cars, challenges keeping the cars charged, etc.).

electric-smart-car-car2go-charging-netherlandsSo, the latest carsharing news is particularly interesting to me, but should be interesting to anyone eager to see our transportation emissions cut. A study from the University of California, Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC), has conducted what it calls “the first-ever study of one-way carsharing in North America and its impact on mobility,” focusing on the car2go system over a 3-year period and collecting data from over 9,500 members in Calgary; San Diego; Seattle;Vancouver; and Washington, DC.

The study finds with certainty that one-way carsharing cuts the # of cars on the road, vehicle miles travelled (VMT), and transportation emissions. Specific findings include:

  • Between two percent to five percent of the car2go population sold a vehicle due to car2go across the study cities
  • Another seven percent to 10 percent of respondents did not acquire a vehicle due to car2go
  • Each car2go vehicle removes between seven to 11 vehicles from city roads (including sold and suppressed)
  • One to three private vehicles were sold across the five cities per car2go vehicle
  • In total, car2go took an estimated 28,000-plus vehicles off of the road and reduced parking demand
  • A six percent to 16 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) across the study population (average of 11 percent)
  • A four percent to 18 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the study population (average 10 percent)
  • Estimates suggest that car2go’s one-way carsharing service prevented between 10 to 29 million VMT per year per city, depending on assumptions of suppressed mileage, which in-turn removed between 5.5 to 12.7 metric tons of GHG emissions per car2go vehicle annually (on average).

Interesting findings. Now I wonder what the effects are in a carsharing system with a different model for where a member can return the cars.

Related: “Carsharing Can Take Millions Of Cars Off The Road, & My Electrifying Proposal

Photo by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0), via

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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