Car Sharing EV Style: It’s All the Rage These Days

JUL 31 2018 BY PAUL SCOTT 36

A look at car sharing in the era of EVs

With car sharing being all the rage these days, established industry leaders like Uber and Lyft are leading this new transportation paradigm. Other methods of getting around include mass transit via buses and trains and electric scooters and bicycles. The goal is to reduce single occupancy cars to the extent possible along with their massive external costs including pollution from internal combustion, and the severe overcrowding of roads, freeways, and parking structures. Recently we have discovered a unique way of car sharing that can be used by those with flexible or predictable schedules.

My girlfriend recently moved in with me. She had been driving a Toyota Corolla due to the fact the landlord where she lived previously would not allow her to install a charger. Naturally, I already had a charger installed, so we began looking at our options. Would we get a new EV, or a used one? As it turned out, another couple in our building had leased a Leaf until the lease ran out. These good friends of ours split time between Florida and Santa Monica and owned a Chevy Bolt for use in Florida. They were looking for something to use while in California. After discussing our respective needs for a car, we determined that one car would easily suffice for all our driving needs. The economics of four people sharing a car were too compelling to pass up. Thus was born the idea to share a car.

We met a few times to go over the title, insurance, scheduling, and how to handle issues related to damage. It should go without saying that trust and communication between the partners is important. Also, physical proximity is very helpful.

We looked at both the Leaf and Bolt since the 2018 Leaf at 150 miles range would easily serve our needs. The Bolt with about 50% more range was overkill, but more range is never a bad thing. So, it came down to price.

I had worked for four years selling the Leaf from it’s introduction in 2010 until 2014 when I retired. I thought the Leaf would be a good deal since it was limited in range relative to the Bolt and that Nissan would be offering a longer range Leaf the next year. I thought these two things would enable us to negotiate a very low price since Nissan would want to move these cars and make room for the next iteration. Sadly, the residual on the lease was set too low making the monthly payment considerably higher than we wanted to pay.

We had a wonderful buying experience. Our previous efforts resulted in monthly lease costs in the high $300’s which was not where we wanted to be.  David Eagle of Current EV came to our rescue and delivered with a quote we couldn’t refuse for 10,000 miles on a 3 year lease from  Camino Real Chevrolet [CN1].  The service provided by the dealership was phenomenal, rather than us driving through brutal LA traffic, the dealership delivered the car to our door and David met with us to help with the paperwork.

We have been thoroughly enjoying our Bolt for a few weeks now. Our car partners created a shared calendar that we use to schedule trips so we all know well in advance of the other’s needs. Our share, including lease, insurance costs, and energy, is considerably less than what my girlfriend was spending with her gas car and we get to ride in style.  With the range of the Bolt, and our short commutes, we can always go the distance.  If you want to save even more money check with your utility company to find out more about charging during off-peak hours.

While our needs are different from most daily commuters who use a car every day, I’m certain there are many people who might be able to share ownership of a vehicle. Whether it’s a used or new EV, this method of car sharing is a terrific way to keep your transportation costs to a bare minimum and to reduce your contribution to climate change and pollution.

Lead Image Credit: Jogger Passing By

Photo – from left to right – Paul Scott, Barbara, Berta, and Bill.

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36 Comments on "Car Sharing EV Style: It’s All the Rage These Days"

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Dav8or

I guess if it works for you, why not? Airplane partnerships have been around for decades. It works well for some and for others, it sometimes ends badly. I think for the vast majority of people, we still prefer to go and do whenever we like and keep use of the car as long as we like.

Eric Cote

It’s tempting to at least try and apply this to a household. For example, could my wife and I reduce our two Volts to a single EV like the Bolt? If we did that, she may have to drop me off at work. When that’s inconvenient, I could possibly take an Uber.

I would venture a guess that quite a few people could do with 1 vehicle in their household instead of 2, especially when they have Uber/Lyft services available to them. Ignoring the potential to cripple the automobile manufacturing sector, it could significantly reduce carbon/manufacturing footprints by halving the vehicles in a given household.

Dav8or

Sure, you could do that and a lot of people do just that now. Just remember, when you cripple the auto industry in this country, you also cripple this country’s economy. The auto industry trickles down to almost every community everywhere in the country.

JC

It is inevitable. Unless you are a luddite it is very apparent that creative destruction of our most deeply held industries is going to happen. We aren’t going to put robotics, expert systems (dumb AI), and other advances back into the bottle. The automotive industry and its suppliers are an increasingly smaller portion of our economy even while they become of even more importance to the communities which support them. The situation is ripe for change and change is always difficult. Forget about households downsizing their car ownership and self driving fleets, what happens when computer systems and AI become smart enough to handle most managerial and middle management job functions? This is already happening in the financial sector where most trades are handled by automated expert systems rather than actual people.

Will

That’s true but city and state government can’t collect taxes that pay for roads or schools

Paul Scott

Americans spend close to two trillion for dirty energy every year. The work that is done with that two trillion could easily be done with about one trillion worth of renewable electricity. So, our economy is already being “crippled” by the inefficient use of that extra trillion dollars. That money could be spent on more productive things such as schools and universal healthcare, but instead, it’s spent on oil, coal, and gas.

Add to the wasted trillion dollars the external costs of the dirty energy. This involves health costs, environmental costs, and in the case of oil, military costs. Together, these costs are hundreds of billions every year and they include massive human misery. Climate change costs are just now being felt and will total trillions in the coming decades.

So your concern over the legacy auto industry is misplaced.

SJC

We do not exist to keep GM and Ford in business.
If they can not adapt that is their fault.

Will

Yelp, we have suppliers and they engine plants and a Ohio Ford plant here. That will kill the economy here. That’s what happen to our town when ford left in 2005 and it never recover it’s tax base.

Paul Scott

You can blame Ford for that. They have been dragging their feet on switching to EVs for over a decade. If they cared about your future, and the future of humanity, they would be building their own battery plant like the gigafactory and switching all of their plants to build EVs ASAP. Adapt to the new tech, or fade into oblivion.

Dav8or

And how is switching to EVs going to help when the premise was, cutting car ownership in half? Less cars is less cars no matter how they are powered. Less cars means lots more people out of work. It has nothing to do with adapting new tech.

Paul Scott

The benefits from fewer ICE cars being built comes from the money being wasted on building and operating them, and all the negative externalities being used for more productive uses. Many jobs will be created from people spending their money more wisely.

Dav8or

Trust me, most of the people here don’t give a damn about auto workers in Ohio. The entire state could be on unemployment and they wouldn’t care.

Will

So how much you have to spend on Uber and added maintenance on the car if you flip that route plus what happens when you 2 work different schedules that overlap or 2 hours earlier then the other especially early hours or when your commute round trip is 50-70 miles a day. Not doable unless you live with great public transit like la Chicago NYC, but here in Ohio, the state only spends $4 million dollars a year in mass transit and let the systems here deteriorate

Paul Scott

Ohio has a crappy state government that doesn’t care about its citizens. Vote for better leaders.

JC

Mass transit is a difficult thing. Mass transit works best when the population density is high, it costs more for very little payoff as the population density goes lower. It’s not always about crappy state government (Although Ohio’s is pretty bad) but about risk vs. reward scenarios.

F150 Brian

Once automated driving is fully enabled (tech and legislation), car ownership will drop like the proverbial rock.
Having a fleet of charged vehicles of various types that drive to wherever you need them will be far too appealing to be “stuck” with one vehicle for years.
For example, drive a small car to run some errands and find a great antique chest at a yard sale along the way – no problem, just hail a minivan or pickup truck and release the small car!
Of course, those who treat vehicles as far more than transportation will still want to own it, but that’s likely a small percentage of the population.
Variety is the spice of life!

lamata

I would Never Share mine or someone else’s Car, PERIOD ! If I had No Other Choice I would take A Bus !

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

Apparently you haven’t ridden any bus in LA recently. You should try the “urine flora” of the bus, especially the ones that go through down town and skid row. There’s also the aura that show cases the din of mental illness problem in US.

I wish waivecar becomes lot bigger success quicker. Like Tels, they are so slow…
http://www.waivecar.com/

William

Yes, Waivecar is successfully expanding its business, and is growing in popularity.

William

Also, private party fractional Baby Boomer car sharing, looks to be on the upswing these days. With all of the emerging EV shared transportation bargain value plays, it seems as though these diversified shared platforms will continue to evolve, as long as consumers cooperate for significant savings.

lamata

Buses up here in SW Ontario Canada are fewer but Clean. So Yea, I would rather take the Bus . Cheers !

Anonymouse

@BoltEV

Meh. LA’s skid row bums have a lot to learn from NYC’s bums.

On the NYC subway, bums ride in style in the comfort of your own leather sofas. However, I suspect the one in the link below may indeed be urine soaked with perhaps a schmear of fecal matter. 💩💩💩

https://nypost.com/2018/07/31/yes-thats-definitely-a-leather-sofa-on-the-subway/

JC

You must be the life of the party never riding in a friend’s car. You are probably that guy who is never the designated driver. Cheers!

Dimitrij

*Score* 🙂

Will

What bus if we killed the tax base with automoy service industry

Michael Will

If only we could select ‘EV only’ instead of ‘Uber Black’ or ‘Lyft Lux Black’ – I really don’t care about the car color, but please keep the stinky legacy cars away, I would pay extra for a clean, smooth electric ride.

SJC

That IS the trend EV ride sharing.

Darell Dickey

Just for clarification, the “Black” designation is not the color of the car. It is mean to be “premium.” And of course… gasoline-burning.

Berta Finkelstein
This is a grand experiment by 4 people committed to EV cars, It requires a great deal of flexibility in scheduling activities that require driving as well as using alternate modes of transportation (walking, bus, metro, bikes). It also requires planning ahead. The interesting aspects of this idea are related to : A. giving up the notion that we each need to have a private car regardless of frequency of use B. trusting the shared owners to be responsible for using a reservation schedule, charging, paying C. spontaneity may be curtailed D. trip planning is very important E. communication and discussions prior to obtaining the car about insurance, usage levels, leasing structures F. Ongoing evaluation of the process by all involved and a review of all aspects of this endeavor at the end of the first year.
JC

I think this would be a great solution for college kids. They have set schedules for the most part, there is a lack of parking space, and it also takes a lot of stress and burden off the parents who may feel pressured to buy their children a car.

menorman

Also helpful to recall that people can bike, walk, or use transit too.

JC

What if biking, walking, or mass transit isn’t an option?

Darell Dickey

Good on ya, Paul! We have one car (EV) that commutes every day. And we have one car (Prius) that is parked for about 28 days of every month… just incase we need it. I feel like an idiot having it take up space, and cost us insurance and registration (it can’t depreciate much more, so I have that going for us!). When the Model 3 arrives, the hope is that it becomes the “one car that does it all.” Next will be looking into sharing that one car.

Thanks for a great article on what is possible.

Kdawg

Services like Zip Car and Maven are essentially car-sharing services for everyone.