Peer-to-peer car-sharing platforms — albeit clichés — are like the Airbnb of cars.But unlike Airbnb, which is currently valued at $78.8 billion, car-sharing has yet to take off — despite the fact that cars sit Idle 96% of the timeBut now, with old-fashioned rental cars expensive and hard to come by, car sharing may finally have a chance.
Xavier Collins, vice president of Truo, said convenience is another benefit of peer-to-peer networking, with many people finding a car not too far from a rental lot on the edge of town. The convenience is great if you’re already in a city, but what about people flying in for vacations? HiyaCar is currently focusing on local renters rather than tourists, saying it is expected to increase support for holidaymakers this year, but the other two companies did target passengers. Getaround is working to find parking spaces for its cars at transport hubs; in France, for example, it has dedicated spots near train stations.
Trudeau went a step further. Cars are delivered directly to the arrivals area of the airport, where the owner either holds the key to meet the tenant, or leaves the vehicle in the airport parking lot and unlocks it through an app.
Apps like Truo, Getaround, and HiyaCar have the same benefit as Airbnb and other so-called sharing economy platforms: They don’t own anything. “The car on the platform doesn’t belong to the company,” said Even Heggernes, vice president of Getaround Europe. “The ubiquitous car shortage is not really something that affects us.”
But that doesn’t mean the platforms have enough vehicles – in the UK, HiyaCar has 2,000 cars for its 150,000 registered users. Truo has 3,000 in the UK, while in the US, Getaround Have 160,000. Sharing platforms rely on individuals letting strangers drive away, which requires trust and effort to keep vehicles clean, full of gas, and ready for renters. It’s a challenging question, and while Heggernes is focused on encouraging drivers to sign up, he says supply has increased due to the cost of living crisis and people are looking for ways to make extra cash.
HiyaCar has a solution to the persistent supply shortage: top up the system with its own vehicle. HiyaCar has 150,000 registered users and just 2,000 cars, 350 of which are part of its car club system. They are not owned by HiyaCar, but are owned by automakers, which guarantee a minimum income and are designed to fill an undersupply of cars, which the company calls the “cold-start problem.”
“We have a lot of demand, but not enough cars,” said Rob Lamour, co-founder of HiyaCar. “You can’t just launch in an area and suddenly there are tons of cars for people to rent; it takes time to build up.” Set up in areas with a general shortage of vehicles, such as central London, public transport may reduce car ownership, but demand for temporary rentals remains high.
But traditional car rental companies aren’t sitting idly by and letting upstarts disrupt their market.Even before the pandemic, rental companies lobby Tighter regulation of the peer-to-peer market, requiring stricter vehicle inspections and restrictions on airport drop-off areas.