What will the future of mobility look like? Will technological advances and shifts in attitudes lead to our no longer owning or driving vehicles? We find out in the interview below, with the kind help of Olivier Reppert, CEO of car2go Group.
Could you please tell us a few words about car2go? How does it work?
car2go is a so called free-floating carsharing system. Free floating means that the cars can be rented and parked anywhere within a certain area in a city. All cars can be accessed easily via an app. Usually you will always find a car easily in a 300 meter radius wherever you are. The app helps you to find, reserve and rent the car quickly. You pay by the minute and all costs like fuel or parking are already covered.
There are still lots of people that choose owning a car over shared mobility. How long before things will change and how do you plan to convince them to make the switch?
This doesn’t happen overnight. We saw some studies in the last few years which showed that there are many people willing to sell their car in a city or not to buy one the already planned – due to new mobility offers like car2go. More and more people in big cities realize that it is very expensive and inconvenient to own a vehicle. Just think of parking, insurance or maintenance. And when they need a vehicle, with car2go they easily have hundreds available. But we are part of a bigger mobility ecosystem that also includes public transport. Carsharing users don’t use our service every time they travel in a city. They combine different modes of transport.
How will car sharing affect the automotive industry? Will it result in a slower growth of vehicle sale or will it be an opportunity for automakers and other mobility players?
Carsharing and other modes of mobility are a big opportunity for automakers. Mobility behavior of people is changing anyhow. By investing in it, automakers will be big players in the mobility future. Daimler decided very early to actively invest in new mobility forms. As a result, Daimler today is a leading player in this segment. With their knowledge about managing vehicles fleets, steering the cars in the most intelligent way and the prediction of mobility demand they have key knowledge for the autonomous future.
How do you see the future of mobility?
The future of mobility will be electric, autonomous and shared. Electrification is a necessary step in order to meet ever increasing mobility demand without causing negative effects for the environment. And the offer of a shared and autonomous service will be so fast and convenient for people that it will be a turning point for the industry. Just imagine, wherever you are you just push a button on your smartphone and one minute later a vehicle picks you up and takes you where you need to go – much cheaper than a taxi would today. Many people will use such a service.
Do you consider Romania as a potential next market for car2go?
Romania is a very interesting market for Carsharing and also car2go. We are looking into this market but also other East European markets. The big challenge for us is to establish a working business model because taxi and public transport options are much cheaper in Romania than they are in other European countries. But we have first ideas how this could work.