Peer-to-peer car-sharing platforms are, albeit clichéd, exactly like Airbnb for cars. But unlike Airbnb, which is currently valued at $ 78.8 billion, the car-sharing still has to take off, even though the cars are idle 96 percent of the time. But now, with the old rents expensive and hard to come by, the car-sharing could finally have its time.
Xavier Collins, vice president of Truo, says that convenience is another advantage of going among equals, as many people can find a car within walking distance rather than on a rental lot on the outskirts of the city. This convenience is fine if you’re already in town, but what about people who want to spend a vacation? HiyaCar is currently focusing on local tenants rather than tourists, saying it is expected that support for holidaymakers will be added this year, but the other two companies are flying. Getaround is working to secure parking spaces for its cars in the transportation hubs; in France, for example, it has dedicated spaces close to railway stations.
Truo takes it a step further. The cars are delivered directly to the airport arrivals area, and the landlord meets the tenants with the keys or leaves the vehicle in the airport car park, where it is unlocked using the app.
Apps like Truo, Getaround and HiyaCar have the same advantage as Airbnb and other so-called shared economy platforms: they have nothing. “Platform cars do not belong to the company,” says Even Heggernes, vice president of Getaround Europe. “The shortage of cars everywhere is not something that really affects us.”
But that doesn’t mean these 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 has 160,000. Sharing platforms are based on people letting strangers drive their car, which requires confidence and effort to keep vehicles clean, full of gas, and otherwise ready for tenants. It’s a difficult question, though Heggernes, whose job is to encourage drivers to register, says supply has risen due to the cost-of-living crisis, with people looking for ways to earn extra money.
HiyaCar has a solution to the continuing supply shortage: recharge the system with its own vehicles. With 150,000 registered users, HiyaCar has only 2,000 cars, of which 350 are part of its car club system. They are not owned by HiyaCar, but by car manufacturers, who are guaranteed a minimum income, and the goal is to fill cars where there is still not enough supply, what the company calls the “problem of starting in the cold. “
“We have a lot of demand but not enough cars,” says Rob Lamour, co-founder of HiyaCar. “You can’t jump in an area and suddenly have a lot of cars for people to rent; it also takes time for it to be created. ”Car clubs are also being set up in areas without enough vehicles in general, such as central London, where public transport could reduce car ownership but demand for ad hoc rentals remains high.
But traditional car rental companies don’t sit back and let beginners disrupt their market. Even before the pandemic, rental companies were pushing for tighter peer market regulation, demanding tighter vehicle controls and restrictions on drop-off areas at airports.