Car sharing for more livable cities and climate protection

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Car sharing for more livable cities and climate protection-climate

The Bundesverband Carsharing (BCS) complains about the insufficient public charging network in Germany, as this is simultaneously slowing down the expansion of car sharing with electric cars. The problem: As a rule, vehicles are only allowed to stand at public charging stations during the charging process, explained a spokesman for the Federal Carsharing Association. This is a “practically unsolvable logistical task” for suppliers and customers.

The association calls for a revision of the guidelines and has formulated concrete proposals in a position paper. The joint use of a car must “become the norm in motorized individual transport,” according to the association in its national car sharing development plan. Germany could become a global role model for this new form of car mobility. Provided some action is taken by 2025.

Car sharing and the climate goals in transport

The climate protection goals of the federal government envisage “zero emissions” overall and thus also for the transport sector by the year 2045. There is no single measure to achieve this, rapid action is required at all levels. According to calculations by the Federal Environment Agency, an energy transition in transport would save around half of the emissions. Resource-saving greenhouse gas neutrality can only be achieved through a simultaneous change in mobility.

This applies in particular to motorized private transport: In order to increase energy efficiency in the overall system, today’s car traffic must be shifted to a large extent to the means of transport in the environmental network, according to the BCS. Climate protection can be strengthened if car mobility for as many households as possible changes from a regular habit to a specifically used option in the mobility mix. Car sharing creates a suitable and indispensable offer for this. Studies show that car sharing users already use eco-friendly means of transport far more often than car owners, even though they have access to a car.

In the climate-neutral transport system of the future, car sharing will provide citizens with resource-saving and affordable car mobility for those (few) trips for which more efficient alternatives are not suitable, BCS continues. The federal government must push ahead with the conversion of car mobility to a sharing system. Only then can climate neutrality in transport be achieved in such a way that Germany, as the seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, makes the necessary contribution to achieving the global 1.5 degree target set in Paris.

Car sharing makes liveable cities possible

Around 48 million cars currently dominate traffic in Germany. On average, only 1.5 people sit in each car per trip. No other means of transport uses up as much space per person transported in stationary as in moving traffic. Cars occupy space that is not available for other uses. Especially in the cities, a redistribution of the scarce space is urgently needed to make walking and cycling more attractive, to promote public transport and to create a better quality of life.

The Federal Environment Agency calculates: 150 cars per 1000 inhabitants must be enough for climate-neutral and space-efficient traffic in the liveable city of the future. Today there are an average of 450 cars in the big cities. Studies show that many car sharing customers have already given up their private cars. In some cases, there are only around 100 private cars for every 1000 users. The goal of 150 cars per 1000 inhabitants is already achievable today.

In the transport system of the future, car sharing could provide city residents with car mobility close to where they live and using as little space as possible.

What should I do?

There are currently 26 in Germany.200 carsharing vehicles available in 855 cities and communities. A rapid expansion of the offer could replace private car ownership as the key product of car mobility. However, the car sharing providers can only achieve rapid growth with the support of politicians. According to BCS, the following measures can be used to quickly convert car mobility to sharing:

  • Promote nationwide expansion of the car sharing infrastructure
  • Eliminate regulatory barriers to promoting car sharing
  • Create better framework conditions for e-car sharing
  • Connect car sharing, public transport and other sharing offers digitally
  • Priority for sharing in autonomous driving
  • Sharing as a new model for motorized private transport

Promote nationwide expansion of the car sharing infrastructure

26.220 carsharing vehicles are provided throughout Germany. 12.020 vehicles of station-based car sharing are available in 855 towns and communities at 6200 stations. 14.200 vehicles of free-floating car sharing and new combined systems (station-based and free-floating car sharing from a single source) are offered in 35 cities. The expansion of the car sharing offer and the expansion into new areas has been and is financed by the car sharing providers themselves.

With the Carsharing Act (CsgG) of 2017, the federal government has already created the legal basis for the nationwide development and expansion of car-sharing parking spaces in public spaces. State laws based on this have meanwhile made the funding fully implementable in many federal states.

According to the BCS, the federal government must financially support the expansion of the car sharing offer in the area and the concentration of the offer in urban areas. In all inner-city residential areas, every household must have at least one reliably available car-sharing offer within walking distance (maximum 400 meters) by 2025. In small and medium-sized towns and in rural areas, the number of car-sharing stations must triple by 2025. In addition, all regulatory hurdles that still exist today for the promotion of car sharing should be removed quickly, according to the BCS.

Create better framework conditions for e-car sharing

According to BCS, the German car-sharing providers are pioneers and pioneers of electromobility. 18.5 percent of carsharing vehicles are electrically powered (mostly exclusively battery-electric). In contrast, the e-share in the entire German passenger car fleet is just over 1.2 percent.

The car sharing industry achieved this success under difficult conditions. Because the federal government has so far failed to promote car sharing charging points. There is also a lack of special support for vehicle procurement by car sharing providers. This is particularly counterproductive because the significantly higher costs of electric mobility are at the expense of faster expansion. The federal government must therefore take the following measures:

  • Targeted support from municipalities to create charging points at allocated parking spaces for car sharing in public spaces
  • Special “car sharing” program for the subsidized procurement of electric cars or car sharing bonus as a new component of general subsidy programs
  • Priority of the promotion of charging points for publicly accessible mobility offers in the private sphere

Connect car sharing, public transport and other sharing offers digitally

Car sharing is the mobility module that enables the environmental association to compete directly with private cars. Closely dovetailing environmental alliances and car sharing with digital technology is an indispensable strategy for ending the dominance of the private car without restricting individual mobility.

However, a national solution for the digital integration of environmental protection and sharing is not yet available in Germany, as the BCS explains. The existing funding structures are focused on upgrading public transport and have always created new, locally limited and, according to BCS, technically incompatible showcase projects. To show that there is another way, the car sharing industry has independently developed a “uniform car sharing interface” for Germany. This shows that digital networking is possible – customer-oriented, national, cooperative and according to uniform rules. In order to create a nationwide, technically compatible digital network that affects all mobility offers, the federal government must take the following measures:

  • Obligation of all operators of passenger transport and mobility services to join an interconnection standard for the exchange of data with multimodal booking systems for mobility by 2025.
  • Various networking standards for sectors, sub-sectors or groups of services (car sharing, bike sharing, micromobility, on-demand ride sharing, etc.) are possible. Factually appropriate networking standards should be determined in cooperation with the stakeholders concerned.
  • Coordinated promotion of the development of mutually compatible technical interfaces and corresponding data usage agreements in any sector, sub-sector or group of services

Priority for sharing in autonomous driving

All traffic simulations show the same thing: If autonomous vehicles are used in the same way as private cars are used today, then gridlock is inevitable, according to the BCS. The additional empty runs and the improved attractiveness of autonomous cars compared to public transport should not be offset by efficiency gains in the coordination of the individual vehicles.

At the same time, the traffic simulations also show: A system of autonomous on-demand minibuses integrated with the main lines of the public transport could transform our cities into largely car-free habitats without restricting mobility. In this scenario, carsharing plays an important role as a mobility offer for those paths that do not cover the offer of mass and group transport funds.

Only if the car option is also available in the overall system, private households are not instructed to buy themselves autonomous cars. Therefore, the Federal Government has to quickly invest in the testing and expansion of autonomous car sharing as a supplement to the autonomous public transport. Autonomous cars must be available in Sharing before private households can buy themselves such vehicles. “Priority for Sharing” means loud BCS:

  • Immediate and priority funding for testing and scaling of all autonomous driving use cases where public vehicles are used and shared by citizens
  • Obligation for vehicle manufacturers to offer standard interfaces for controlling sharing-related functions in autonomous vehicles

Sharing as a new model for motorized private transport

The federal government must implement sharing as a new model for car mobility in road traffic law and in its funding policy. This means, for example, that all areas of traffic legislation are reviewed to see how existing obstacles to the expansion of shared mobility and the switch to these mobility alternatives can be removed. In addition, where possible and necessary, new regulations should be created to promote sharing.

Financial support in the transport sector should be designed in such a way that shared mobility is given priority. Where necessary, new funding should be created. At the same time, according to the BCS, all open and hidden subsidies and privileges for private car ownership should be reduced or redesigned to be more sharing-friendly. Specifically, the association mentions the flat-rate company car tax, the diesel subsidies, the premium for the private purchase of electric cars and the general permission for private cars to park on public roads.

How can the transformation process in motorized private transport be financed?

The BCS calculates that the implementation of the “priority for car sharing” concept in car mobility can be financed simply by eliminating subsidies for car traffic that are harmful to the climate and the environment. For example, the federal government foregoes at least 3.1 billion euros in income every year through flat-rate taxation of privately used company cars and at least another 7.4 billion euros through tax breaks for diesel vehicles. According to BCS, a commuter lump sum that is fixed on supporting the longest possible journeys, which is incorrect, devours a further 5.1 billion euros. With a fraction of these misguided subsidies, the federal government could realign car mobility in a climate-friendly and space-efficient manner.

With the newly introduced CO2 tax, there is an additional financing approach. Part of the revenue from road traffic could be used to finance the transformation process of car traffic – towards climate-neutral and multimodal mobility with car sharing as a key component.

Environmentalists have been calling for the electrification of car-sharing fleets for a long time. “From our point of view, sharing vehicles must above all be small, they must be economical and they should be electric,” says Jens Hilgenberg from the German Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), for example.

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4 thoughts on “Car sharing for more livable cities and climate protection”

  1. Autonomous vehicles are the only way to use car sharing for commuter traffic. The vehicle (6- to 10-seater) brings workers and employees from a hub (nearest underground, suburban or train station) or directly to the place of residence to the workplace (office city, (airport) port, factory) returns empty and then takes the next batch of passengers. The boss hardly has to keep parking spaces available, the streets become emptier, the traffic flows more smoothly and the power consumption decreases the more people share the vehicle.
    However, this service will hardly be offered by car sharing services, but rather by fleet operators such as Waymo, Tesla, Cruise or Zoom, the companies that are developing autonomous driving and then want to earn money with it.

  2. The whole article is nothing but massive lobbying by the association under the guise of ecology and environmental protection – in particular should financed from taxes Charging infrastructure and parking spaces are used excessively and legally for the profit interests of the car sharer may! Best of all as a free (permanent) provision space ..
    The e-car user living in urban quarters – mostly dependent on this structure – will thank you 🙁

  3. Car sharing only works in the minds of the providers, but fails in reality. I took an active part in the first car sharing project 20 years ago. Today it doesn’t work that well anymore. Almost everyone wants to rent a car in their free time or at the weekend, which then gets dirty after use or has a flat tire (“It wasn’t me, I have no idea how that happened..”) switched off. And sooo many eco-friendly people who complain about the lack of parking space in their hipster district and pretend to constantly use their cargo bikes have parked their summer holiday VW Bulli unmoved in front of the front door for more than 300 days a year.
    Preach water and drink wine. 🙂

  4. Everything has been there for a long time…. Clever + shuttle …. Ask who uses the system regularly???
    Too few people are really interested in managing their daily transport needs. Most people just want “MY CAR”, which then stands around pointlessly 23 hours a day. (Plus from power plants that have to supply continuous electricity 24 hours a day). Fewer and fewer city dwellers don’t want their own car anymore. And people in the “flat country” do NOT need a BEV because there will be no nationwide charging infrastructure. That might work. still with hydrogen..


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