BMW Group, in partnership with EVCARD recently launched ReachNow car-sharing service in Chengdu, China.

BMW Group, in partnership with EVCARD recently launched ReachNow car-sharing service in Chengdu, China.

Car sharing schemes allow us to rent cars for a short period on an as-needed basis. Although car sharing has been around since 1950s, it only really came of age in the 1990s with a number of small-scale schemes dotted across Europe and North America. Since then its use has become widespread in the shared economy.  Here's a quick round-up of who is doing what and where.


VW has founded Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda to provide modern integrated mobility services in Africa. This is part of a worldwide regionalisation strategy which includes plans to expand business "significantly" in sub-Saharan Africa. Agreements to that effect were signed in Kigali in 2016. The brand will focus on new app-based mobility services such as car sharing and ride hailing in Rwanda. This year sees the launch of a car sharing service in the capital city of Kigali with around 150 vehicles.


Maven says it is making car sharing easier for drivers in Toronto, Canada by giving them a smart, simple way to reserve a car when they need one. Maven will offer 40 vehicles initially, including Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, Tahoe, Trax and Volt; GMC Acadia and Yukon; and Cadillac ATS and XT5. Maven cars are equipped with OnStar, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as SiriusXM Radio. "Toronto has a unique spirit. Residents are constantly on the go and want more sharing and mobility options," said Julia Steyn, vice president, General Motors Urban Mobility and Maven. "Maven offers cars Torontonians want to drive to help them be there for the moments that matter." 


Chinese ride-hail firm Didi Chuxing is setting up an electric car sharing service with 12 automakers, including BYD Co Ltd and the local partners of Ford Motor Co and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. The latter said the memorandum of understanding signed with Didi underlines its commitment to new mobility services, including the launch of robo-vehicle ride-hailing services, as part of the 'Alliance 2022 strategic mid-term plan'. Didi bought out Uber's China business in 2016.


A new car sharing programme in Hawaii from Servco Pacific and Toyota is being developed. Hui is the name for its new round-trip, station-based car share programme it is developing in partnership with Toyota Connected North America. Hui recently completed an employee-only pilot test with Servco employees and is now starting its next phase with a closed pilot test in Honolulu. Once the pilot test with the closed group is complete, Hui will open the testing to members of the public interested in trying the new mobility service.


Earlier this year, Nissan launched Easy Ride, a robo-vehicle mobility service, as well as E-share mobi car-sharing in Japan. Nissan and its partner DeNA, a Japanese internet company, are jointly developing Easy Ride, a mobility service which uses autonomous driving technology. The goal is to allow customers to use a mobile app to complete the process from setting destinations and summoning vehicles to paying the fare. A public field test of the service is taking place this month in Yokohama.


Hyundai Motor is planning to expand its car-sharing activity through a deepening of its collaboration with Korean ride-share start-up Luxi. The Korea Herald reported that Hyundai Motor invested some 5 billion won in Luxi last year and is now planning to work with the start-up on a 'carpooling algorithm and platform in search for new business opportunities'.


Skoda recently launched a car-sharing scheme in Poland under the brand name Omni. The service allows consumers to pick up and drop off Skoda vehicles at parking stations throughout the Warsaw metropolitan area.


Renault and Ferrovial recently released 500 all-electric Zoe vehicles in Madrid through the Zity car sharing scheme using smartphone applications. Madrid has the highest rate of daily car-sharing in Europe due to the city's size, population, traffic problems and air pollution issues.