’Tis the season for sharing. We share meals, drinks, and presents with friends and family, and maybe even dollars with charities. But must sharing and its many benefits be limited to the holidays?
The year-round benefits of sharing are nowhere more clear than when it comes to driving. Apart from saving money for those who prefer not to buy a car, car sharing takes a significant number of cars off the road, thereby reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Moving to electric vehicles (EVs) would take reducing GHG emissions to another level. But this promises to be a slow transition as people’s concerns about EVs often prevent them from buying one themselves.
What to do about this conundrum? All in a day’s work for the Sharing Economy! Yes — sharing is coming to the rescue as a powerful way to help spread the adoption of electric cars.
Sharing driving experiences
Even the car manufacturers that support EVs in a big way aren’t shouting about them from the rooftops. Whatever the reason for their lack of marketing, a new service, DrivingElectric, is stepping in to help.
An organization based on sharing among communities, DrivingElectric focuses on pooling neighbors’ resources to spread the good EV word. Felix Kramer, the founder, got the idea for DrivingElectric after seeing how much fun EV drivers have showing their cars. And he realized that EV owners, himself included, were essentially selling electric cars!
Why is this kind of marketing so effective? DrivingElectric is based on the idea that “it takes a driver to make a driver.” The “EV curious” can use DrivingElectic to connect with EV drivers in their area. This connection gives them a more realistic and positive picture of the experience.
And it often leads to taking a spin in a nearby EV. As Kramer describes the typical experience, “You get in the car, you close the door, and it's solid, and you sit in there and you say, ‘This is a real car!’ It's not a golf cart … And you can't get that until you actually sit in the car and drive in the car.”
EV drivers can share not only their cars but also their experiences, both on the DrivingElectric website and in person — thereby helping alleviate concerns like range anxiety.
Say I’ve connected on DrivingElectric with EV drivers who have convinced me that an electric car would serve my driving needs on most days. But I’m still nervous about those rare times when I drive farther than their range allows.
Once again, sharing comes to the rescue! This time it’s in the form of PlugShare, an EV charging network. Using the PlugShare website or mobile phone app, you can find chargers on your route where you can plug in, sometimes for free. Even a non-EV driver can sign up to share their wall outlet.
Range anxiety alleviated!
If you’re still not ready to buy an EV, or if you want more opportunities to try one out before purchasing, you can turn to car sharing. As car sharing becomes increasingly popular, companies like Car2Go, Moveabout, and Getaround are including EVs in their fleets — providing the benefits of EVs while mitigating drivers’ concerns:
- Range anxiety: Since people generally use car sharing for short urban trips, range is rarely an issue.
- Charging: For the rare cases when customers do need a charge, companies with EV fleets provide easy ways to find charging locations — some even provide chargers.
- Cost: Low maintenance and charging costs save money for the sharing company, and users save by not having to purchase an EV.
Some EVs are even being designed specifically for sharing in cities — a car used for this purpose can be smaller, and therefore easier to park and charge, and need not include extra features that would drive up the price.
Sharing the EV love
Moving to EVs is a crucial part of combatting climate change — and sharing in various forms can help us get there. If you own an EV or are curious about them, check out DrivingElectric. The more we share our experiences, the sooner we can make a real transition to cleaner cars.
This article was originally published on Mosaic. On the Mosaic blog, contributors from across the impact investment and crowdfunding movements share their insights on how to invest in solar energy and other profitable alternative investments.