Sharing economy makes inroads to combat London's air pollution

A rise in car club members in London is reducing the number of diesel vehicles on the roads, leading to less air pollution and a reduction in vehicle carbon emissions.

Car club operators can regularly renew fleets to respond to emerging technologies and car club vehicles are now emitting 29% less CO2 than private ownership cars

Car club operators can regularly renew fleets to respond to emerging technologies and car club vehicles are now emitting 29% less CO2 than private ownership cars

That is the finding of the 2017 Carplus Annual Survey, which examined the car sharing habits of 4,000 Londoners. The report found that car club membership grew from 186,00 to 193,500 in London last year. As a result, for every car club operating in the capital, more than 11 privately-owned vehicles are taken off the roads – equating to the reduction of nearly 29,500 cars in London.

As well as easing traffic congestion, car club vehicles will have a 99% compliance rate with the forthcoming Ultra-Low Emissions Zone standards pushed forward by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. In total, the number of zero-emission vehicles in car club fleets is 4% and reaches 16% for the DriveNow scheme, a car-sharing venture established by BMW.

DriveNow’s director Joseph Seal-Driver said: “Car sharing is moving in the right direction, but when you compare London with its European counterparts we are sadly still lagging behind. Sadiq Khan has the opportunity to take action with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and pave the way for a healthier future; these results should be the catalyst to get car sharing into every borough so that all Londoners can benefit.”

The report was released the day before (4 May) the UK Government publishes its long-awaited air quality plan, which is rumoured to feature financial incentives for a diesel scrappage system. Data from the Carplus survey found that car clubs have reduced the proportion of diesel vehicles in London fleets from 71% in 2013 to 5% today. In comparison, diesel accounts for 37% of private car ownership.

Car club operators can regularly renew fleets to respond to emerging technologies and car club vehicles are now emitting 29% less CO2 than private ownership cars. The survey also revealed that car club members have reduced mileage by 570 miles on average for round-trips and 239 miles for “flexible members”.

First rule of car club

Last month, BlueCity’s car sharing scheme for electric vehicles (EVs) was rolled-out in Hammersmith and Fulham. Residents will be offered free membership and access to 30 EVs and 85 charge points. The scheme will expand throughout the year.

Last year, Westminster City Council unveiled a car sharing scheme that offered 40 hybrid EVs to car club members at a cost-competitive price, with new charging infrastructure also added to boost the initiative.

Matt Mace


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