The transport company Arriva has bought 400 BMW i3 electric cars, which from the beginning of September, will drive on the streets of Copenhagen, as shared cars. Thereby the Copenhageners can look forward to having a car available 24 hours a day.
The idea is that drivers are free to drive them at a price of DKK 3.95 per minute. The car just needs to be parked within the zone of the City of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg municipality and Hvidovre Hospital and Danish Technological Institute.
The concept has been tested in other major cities in Europe, and in Copenhagen, the company Car2Go already operates with a fleet of ‘smart’ petrol cars. However, Arriva takes it one step further as they buy BMW electric cars. In addition, a cooperation with the energy company E:ON is entered to establish charging stations, as the demand increases.
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With the so-called Rejsekort (‘Travel Card’ – an electronic ticketing system that unites the different transport operators, travel zones, ticketing systems in Denmark), it is possible to unlock the car as well as pay for it.
How does 400 new cars lead to less congestion?
– There are quite a number of studies, performed both by carsharing companies and traffic researchers, which indicate that one shared car replaces 4 to 15 cars. A study from Munich, which is based on users of the platform DriveNow, shows that nine per cent of car users sold their car after having started to use carsharing. This corresponds to about 6 fewer cars per shared car. We know from Berlin that the shared cars in the city in some weekends have an enormous occupancy rate – up to 4-5 hours a day. This is very high, and if we can just reach the half, it would be a success, says CEO of Arriva Nikolaj Wendelboe.
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But Nicholas Wendelboe must also admit that his greatest concern about bringing the concept to Denmark is whether it is possible to compare the German and Danish culture:
– Sharing economy is young and it’s hard to do a research project, which shows it exactly. But everything points to the fact that it has an effect, and we also regard carsharing as part of the Trængselskommissionen’s (a commission established to solve issues of congestion) recommendations. We believe that it is the amount of different transport options that determine our need for a car. The more different options you have, the smaller is your need to have your own car, he says.
Charging the car is rewarded
However, one of the biggest problems with today’s electric cars (except maybe Tesla) is reach. How do you ensure that the batteries are not flat when one wants to drive the car?
-First you have to remember that a BMW i3 can run from 140 to 160 km on a single charge. In the city we do not expect that the individual trips are that long, maybe maximum 15-20 kilometers. This means that you will be able to run at least six to seven trips a day. And that is quite many for a shared car. But if you, after a completed trip, charge the car you will have some extra driving minutes added to your account. At the same time, we have established a corps of people, who will ensure that the cars are charged, cleaned and distributed around the city, says Nikolaj Wendelboe and stresses that Arriva only registers the cars when they are not in use, and not while people are driving them.
As a point of departure Arriva states that you get 20 driving minutes extra, for returning the car to a charger station. But this could be changed if there is a need to increase user incentive to drive a detour to charging stations.
-We do not believe that this will be a great success during the first three months. It takes time, and the goal is to get on the right track over the next three to four years. A specific objective will be 100,000 users in five years. We do not believe that this is an unrealistic goal, if we look at the experience from German cities, says Nikolaj Wendelboe.