INTRODUCTION TO THE CARSHARING CONCEPT
Station-based carsharing has been in existence since the 1980's. This model provides a solid foundation for shifting away from total vehicle ownership. The freedom associated with vehicle ownership can still be found with station-based carsharing, supplemented with other forms of mobility as well. One of the greatest benefits is liberation from the responsibility and high cost of total personal vehicle ownership.
Less than a decade ago, the term shared mobility was just as unfamiliar as the term sharing economy.
Carsharing was still a foreign concept, and that was the buzzword that would get people talking and trying to understand what it meant.
Fast forward to today, and we have so many new forms of mobility that the range of options is amazing for anyone who doesn’t want the cost of a personal vehicle.
Looking closer at the carsharing space, we still see many different forms available, from free-floating to peer-to-peer. However, it is station-based carsharing that broke into the market first, and has been proven to have the greatest impact on reducing congestion and vehicle ownership.
Station-based carsharing allows individuals to run errands and plan weekend getaways, while also being open to other forms of mobility for other trips. With this flexibility, people can better explore and appreciate the city they live in.
The problem with station-based carsharing is that (expensive) parking agreements with carparks are required in order to have space for the shared vehicles. In dense urban cores, curbside parking and parkades are often in short supply.
Add to that the high rate of crime revolving around the automotive industry in S. Africa, with car theft, break-ins and hi-jacking becoming more and more prevalent, station-based carsharing in this country is a far less attractive idea than home-based carsharing, where the cars are returned to their owners every night and parked usually in a lockup garage or in a gated community complex.
In 2020, Qwikar has built on the station-based carsharing foundation and has improved on it. Qwikar has taken the carsharing concept a quantum leap further forward with its home-based car sharing and chauffeur-drive innovation.
Qwikar's Development Team has not only come up with unique new ways of implementing and popularising the co-ownership of vehicles with zero institutional interference, but it has recognised a dire need in South African society for this move.
It promises to become the way people own vehicles in future.
“The answer to people’s desire for a reliable yet flexible mobility option is station-based [and now home-based] carsharing [via Qwikar]. Being able to book a vehicle in advance gives people the peace of mind they need, and helps cities build more livable, congestion-free environments.”
Station-based carsharing involves enabling people to pick up and drive cars themselves. It needs to have parking spots available around the city where cars can be dropped off and picked up again by new users. But parking space is a commodity that is becoming increasingly in short supply (and increasingly expensive) as the number of cars on the roads increases exponentially. And self-drive is becoming a bigger risk, especially in South Africa, which is where the Qwikar Car Sharing and Chauffeur-Drive Initiative comes into its own.
MEETING CONSUMER DEMAND
Qwikar does not meet consumer demand, simply because the Qwikar concept is so new and innovative that consumers don't even know yet that they WANT our service. So it's up to us to educate them, and then CREATE the demand.
What consumers want is constantly changing. Depending on living environment, economic health and current needs, how people choose to get around is influenced by these factors. The surge in popularity of carsharing reflects this – as more people began moving into urban centres, combined with increased cost of living, priorities were reassessed. The common question was: does owning something that is only used 95% of the time make sense?
Carsharing rose in popularity in the UK, in Europe and in the Americas because it met demands that other forms of transportation could not – convenience and freedom. Convenience-wise, round-trip carsharing gives people the option of running their errands or going on weekend trips without having to deal with the hassles of vehicle maintenance, insurance, and fuel. Instead, they just book a car when needed, and their transportation needs are met.
“Station-based carsharing provides people with the opportunity to accomplish virtually anything they would have used a personal vehicle for [without having the cost and hassle of totally owning a car themselves].”
Qwikar has taken this concept a major step forward by introducing a car sharing CHAUFFEUR-DRIVE Service.
Now, with Qwikar, they can be chauffeur-driven everywhere they go within an urban environment, adding a luxurious new facet to the base idea.
This additional element is so unique that the combination of innovative ideas incorporated into Qwikar puts it head and shoulders above even the longest-running carsharing enterprises.
The next element suddenly projects Qwikar far ahead of any other similarly-named concept, and that is the idea of using car sharing and chauffeur-driving as a way to prevent car owners from having their vehicles repossed by the banks.
NO-ONE ELSE HAS THOUGHT OF THIS!
This is happening a lot in South Africa because of the economic downturn and now because of the Covid-19 lockdown that has decimated businesses and jobs in South Africa.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STATION-BASED AND QWIKAR HOM-BASED CARSHARING
The major difference between station-based carsharing and the Qwikar home-based carsharing system is that the former is a business for which companies buy vehicles for use by the paying public.
Conversely, Qwikar uses private car owners' vehicles so they do not lose their cars to bank repossessions, by sharing their usage and costs with a small group of others who live within a 10 km radius of the car owner, so they can retain ownership.
And in so doing, we make it possible for people who have never or who would never have owned a vehicle themselves, to do exactly that without credit checks, big deposits, income statements and expensive monthly repayments with high interest rates. Now, they only pay for the time that they use the vehicle, not for it's unused time. Because someone else will be using that time.
That aspect gave rise to another element now incorporated into the Qwikar list of features, in which people with paid-off cars that are still in good condition and well-maintained can monetize their cars instead of leaving them standing in the garage or carport most of the time. They add them to the Qwikar pool, and they can even be an owner-driver and earn a salary if they pass muster as a good and confident driver.
Freedom comes in the form of being able to have more choices. It’s not just about choosing how to get around, but also about managing and controlling transportation costs. When you own a vehicle, roughly 20% of your household income goes towards vehicle-related costs. However, when you use carsharing, your transportation-related costs are pay-as-you-go, and you can see the actual costs incurred for each trip.
With this transparency, people will typically find more cost-effective ways to get around. Research has shown that the Qwikar carsharing service has allowed people to save R3,000 - R12,000 per month and up - and still retain ownership of their vehicles!
As a result, Qwikar has enabled people to have more disposable income and more freedom in how they spend their income, and evaluate other ways that they can utilise the money they save by sharing the use of their cars with others in their immediate vicinity.
VEHICLE CONGESTION REDUCTION
Congestion is important to take into consideration because cities, whether urban or rural, are starting to grow.
In the United States, 96.3% of the driving-age population owns a vehicle; that number will cause chaos on the road if it stays the same. In South Africa, there are more than 12-13 million registered vehicles on the road. That number needs to be reduced, and Qwikar's home-based carsharing service is one way to do that.
Qwikar home-based carsharing is key to getting people out of personal vehicles because it is proven to reduce vehicle travel and vehicle congestion.
One Qwikar carshared vehicle replaces 9-15 personally owned vehicles. This is because Qwikar Group Members can now sell their current cars and not need to buy a second car, or they can postpone the purchase of another car.
Alternatively, they can buy a quality second-hand car, for example, for the express purpose of sharing it with people in their neighbourhood, get the use they need from it and only pay a fraction of what it costs to solely own a car.
Regardless of the reason, fewer personal cars owned means less congestion on the roads.
There were 12 027 860 registered vehicles in South Africa at the end February 2017, according to the electronic National Administration Traffic Information System (eNatis). In the 3.5 years since then, in September 2020 that figure has increased substantially.
With just 10% of that market, Qwikar will make a significant impact on road usage and on the way cars are owned.
Wesbank is said to be repossessing 45,000 cars a month, a statistic they deny. But when you consider that there are, conservatively, 30 vehicle finance companies in South Africa, all having to repossess cars because of the lockdown and the loss of people's jobs and businesses and their resultant inability to pay for their cars, the overall figure of 45,000 repossessions per month is not so far-fetched.
RELIEVING VEHICLE CONGESTION
When households become part of Qwikar, they can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 34-41% per year.
Similarly, households can potentially reduce their vehicle's kilometers travelled by 27%-43%!
We predict that more corporations will share their fleet of vehicles with the public. As corporations are finding ways to become more cost-effective, the opportunity to earn revenue outside of business hours would be appealing. Instead of having the vehicle sit idle in a parking lot, the vehicle could be used by employees or others in the community, and be returned for business use later the same day or even the next day.
In another scenario, Qwikar is likely to offer a ride-splitting feature that would allow its members to share rides with each other. This would make the trip more affordable for all passengers, while further reducing the number of vehicles that would have to be on the road. This would help build a strong sense of community and engagement among Qwikar members.
Qwikar wants to form partnerships with businesses in the automotive and other industries, to our mutual benefit.
One way to do this is to offer companies in related industries the opportunity to advertise on the Qwikar web site, which is destined to become a "go-to" destination for an increasing number of people wanting to become Qwikar members.
Qwikar provides a solid foundation for shifting away from vehicle ownership. The freedom associated with vehicle ownership can still be found with Qwikar, supplemented by other forms of mobility as well.
One of the greatest benefits is the liberation from the cost and responsibility of being the sole owner of a personal vehicle.
“Qwikar carsharing is a proven model, and one that will act as the foundation for multi-modality. Even with new forms of mobility popping up in cities, Qwikar carsharing, when rolled out nationally, will take most personal vehicles off the road and will massively reduce traffic congestion, fuel and tyre use, and help to reverse the downward spiral of citizens' quality of life.
These factors are critical in growing urban cities.”