Tackling the Barriers to Electric Car Clubs in the UK

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Originally published on Transport & Environment.
By Eoin Bannon

Barriers and opportunities for shared, battery electric vehicles. Image courtesy of report from Transport and Environment.

The average British car sits parked for more than 95% of the time, and when used rarely travels very far: well under half the journeys undertaken by car are under five miles. Some 29% of cars drive less than 5,000 miles in a year. A large proportion of those car owners would be financially better off by not owning their vehicles, and using car clubs for their journeys. This briefing, and the associated report, focuses on tackling the barriers to increased use of electric car clubs.

Increasing the use of car club cars brings major environmental benefits. They significantly reduce the number of cars overall: 45% of long-term car club members in London cut their vehicle ownership on becoming members. Furthermore, car club members drive fewer miles than car owners, and walk and cycle more.

Many car owners do not have the option of being a car club member though: there simply are no local car clubs in their vicinity. To increase the size of the electric car club network and, crucially, to increase its usage, a range of perceived and practical barriers must be addressed:

  • The lack of a coherent national policy.
  • Inconsistent local authority policies: notably regarding access to parking bays.
  • Insufficient suitable charging infrastructure.


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