In Germany, car sharing has a solid tradition of over a decade. Small communities, like residential resorts, different clubs or isolated groups put they fleet for mutual use. Thus, companies who activate in the car sharing business are not complaining at all. The main benefit is that for the same monthly fee, the user enjoys a generous range of vehicles, from sporty cars for the week-end to family van for the holidays.
The German Bundestag has approved a so-called Car-Sharing Law, for the first time regulating the establishment of parking spaces specifically for car-sharing on a Germany-wide basis.
The law regulates the use of public parking spaces for fixed-location provision of car-sharing, which can be assigned to individual providers. Public parking spaces can also be used for free-floating car-sharing, in this case not limited to single providers. The new law also enables local authorities to reduce or waive parking fees for car-sharing vehicles, encouraging the service.
The Car-Sharing Law explicitly names car-sharing as the eco-friendly go-to alternative to the current paradigm of car ownership. Fixed-location car-sharing, as offered in or near city centres, has already reduced private car ownership by 15-20%. A recent study claims that up to 78% of inner-city customers of car-sharing services no longer own a car. That is significantly higher than the average of 18% for the inhabitants of large German cities, and even the 53% of Berliners who do not own a car.
A practical example of this new relationship is the deployment in the city of Hamburg of a large network of charging points for plug-in electric vehicles and parking spaces dedicated to car sharing. To complete this project, Hamburg just announced its collaboration with BMW. The car manufacturer will be providing a fleet of 500 vehicles (400 pure electric and 150 plug-in hybrids) by 2019 which will be availabe via the DriveNow platform.