The Three Faces of Carsharing: France 2005

Here by way of historical background to accompany our just getting-underway World Carshare 2013 update please find some working notes that I pulled 107208-38together for the purpose of a presentation at the first official government meeting on carsharing in France (seven years after we set up our own unofficial working group with the OECD in 1998). What you have here was extracted from a much longer thinkpiece that I was  drafting on the subject at the time. Have a look and let us know if you find some vision in what follows. Or the lack thereof if that is your read of the evidence as et out here and available from other sources.

 – – > Full report available here.

The Three Faces of Carsharing in France: 2005

Eric Britton, World Carshare, speaking notes of 12/6/2005

1. WORLD Carshare Developments and Trends: 350 BC -2006

  • · Ca. 350 – Aristotle writes “On the whole, you find wealth much in use than in ownership.”
  • · 1948 – Selbstfahrergenossenshaft and the rest – 2300 years later
  • · 1960’s – The “miracle” of PRT and automatic small vehicle transport (precursors of carsharing 2005?)
  • · 1972/4 – Two great carsharing projects: ProcoTip and Witkar start . . . and stop
  • · 1980’s – Slow, spread out, start-and-stop diffusion – but it doesn’t stop there
  • · 1987+ – Carsharing starts to come of age: Pre-Mobility & StattAuto set pattern. As projects multiple around (mainly) Europe, World Carshare Consortium established
  • · Late nineties – Carsharing picks up speed and starts to establish itself in country after country (fast here, slower there. . . including France)
  • · 2005 — More than 150 CSOs identified in World Carshare inventory1
  • · 2006 — More than 650 cities around the world where you can carshare this morning

It’s suddenly 2005 and things no longer look as they did. The carshare business is out of the cradle and at present enjoying outstanding expansion across W. Europe and N. America, with steady progress in some Asian cities as well.

Among the leading “more of everything” developments of the last two years have been:

  • More Cities are getting into the business at accelerating rates.
  • More Countries: Carshare operations are beginning to crop up in countries which until very recently have had little or none.
  • More Management: Without high management competence and entrepreneurship, carsharing operations cannot survive and prosper
  • More Competition: We are beginning to see cities with more than one carshare operator – opening up a new generation of challenges to and opportunities for city government policies.
  • More Players: A crescendo of more active involvement on the part of some automobile firms and car rental groups
  • More Money: The appearance of larger investors and venture capitalists (meaning that carsharing is starting to look like a technology business);
  • More Technology: Steady movement toward increased technology content at all levels of the enterprise and the customer link to service.

Where does that leave us today? In brief:

  • Carsharing is most definitely no longer an “infant industry”. This means that you can without hesitation consider it as a transport option for your city.
  • The critical bottom-line in 2005 is the professionalism of organization and the business formula of the enterprise.
  • There are a growing collection of groups and experts in the field who have proven that they know how to plan and deliver these services successfully — and now available to work with you to make a success of your new start-up. (Many of whom are identified in the Supplier Annex here.)
  • Carsharing succeeds or fails as a result of deep partnerships with their cities.

2005 bottom line 1: “This Product is ready for market”

– – > For full 2005 presentation, click to
Carshare presentation – French Senate 5dec5 -final

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eb-about the editor - 18oct13

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