With the shared scooter to the cinema or with the shared car to family and friends: use instead of possession is becoming increasingly common.

This is also noticed by the providers of shared cars, who see their fleet and the number of users increasing.

NU.nl spoke with providers MyWheels, Greenwheels and SHARE NOW about the market and how it has developed.

The idea of ​​sharing means of transport is certainly not new.

The white bicycle plan devised by Luud Schimmelpennink, leader of the Provo protest movement, dates from 1965. The initiative for the Witkar shared car, also by Schimmelpennink, dates from the same period.

MyWheels and Greenwheels have also been around for a while.

"MyWheels has been around since 1993 and was set up with a sustainability idea at the time. In that phase it was still really for people who did not want to own a car on principle. The idea of ​​a shared car was then limited to those circles for quite a while," says CEO Karina Tiekstra.

“We have always been a good safety net for public transport travelers and cyclists, as well as a replacement for the second car,” added SHARE NOW managing director Robert Bosman.

The provider was created in 2019 when Mercedes parent company Daimler and the BMW Group decided to merge their car-sharing services Car2Go and DriveNow.

Car2Go has been active in Amsterdam since 2011.

"We see that the use of shared mobility now comes more from the need and from the idea that something has to change. For many people, that means a choice for sustainable shared mobility."

The red Greenwheels car is a well-known appearance in the Netherlands.

The red Greenwheels car is a well-known appearance in the Netherlands.

Photo: Greenwheels

Strong growth for all parties

Car ownership in the city is discouraged in various ways and the costs are also rising, including for parking.

The corona crisis subsequently gave many Dutch people the last push towards shared mobility.

The providers of shared mobility have reflected this in their figures.

"On June 21, 1995, the very first Greenwheels car set wheels on Dutch soil in a parking garage in Rotterdam. We saw and continue to see the demand for shared cars increasing. In 2020, the year that we celebrated our 25th anniversary and in the middle of the In the corona time, we placed the 2,000th Greenwheels car in the Netherlands and the number of Greenwheels drivers increased by 35 percent. And we have never seen so many registrations in one year as in 2021," says Greenwheels director Andrew Berkhout.

“In 2016, we had about 150 shared cars available, including private ones, and about 35,000 users. At the beginning of last year we had 330 cars and 80,000 users, now more than 1,600 cars and 160,000 users,” said Tiekstra.

"This year we want to reach 2,400 cars, provided the increase in the number of users keeps pace. That seems to be successful. Next year we want to double the numbers of cars and users again."

According to Bosman, the picture is no different at SHARE NOW.

"Where we had less than 80,000 users in 2018, the counter was already at 93,000 last year and now at almost 100,000 users."

More confidence in shared mobility

According to Bosman, the providers are helped in this by the flight that shared mobility in general has taken.

Think of shared scooters and shared bicycles.

"This has given people the confidence that a choice can be made for any desired moment, location and time from what is the most suitable means of transport for the user at that moment. That could just as well be public transport. If that is all correct and If municipalities and government implement policy on this, then consumers will gain the confidence that he or she can say goodbye to the car."

The business market has also started to move, Berkhout sees.

"People no longer automatically opt for lease cars, but opt ​​for a flexible mobility budget. So that employees can drive a shared car with the same card or pass and take the tram or e-scooter to an appointment."

Another trend, according to MyWheels, is that people in their twenties and thirties in cities simply find car ownership inconvenient and expensive.

"They'd rather use than own," says Tiekstra.

Many people become familiar with shared mobility through shared scooters.

Many people become familiar with shared mobility through shared scooters.

Photo: felyx

Providers are or are making a step towards electric

Within the demand for shared cars, there is an increasing interest in electric driving and a party like MyWheels is only too happy to respond to this.

"Those cars are increasingly reaching the cost level of petrol cars. Due to this development and the fact that we want to stimulate electric driving for sustainability reasons, electric driving is cheaper for us than petrol. Half of our offer is now fully electric."

"We are working hard to make our fleet more sustainable. That is why, in addition to the well-known red cars, white electric cars with green stickers are increasingly appearing on the street. Naturally, we are installing those extra cars because demand is increasing," Berkhout adds.

At SHARE NOW, the entire range is already fully electric.

Bosman does see that the number of longer journeys is increasing.

"That is a positive surprise and shows, in our view, that in many situations the private car is really starting to become redundant in the urban environment."

SHARE NOW recently introduced the electric Fiat 500.

SHARE NOW recently introduced the electric Fiat 500.

Photo: AutoWeek

Less space for the car

This urban environment will change in the coming years, whereby more space will have to be created for greenery.

Berkhout, Bosman and Tiekstra naturally see shared mobility as an important means of achieving that goal.

"Because Greenwheels drivers share cars with each other, the burden on the environment is reduced, fewer cars stand still unnecessarily and there is more space on the street for fun things, such as more greenery or playgrounds. For every car we put on the street, it disappears." there is an average of eleven on the street," says Greenwheels CEO Berkhout.

"We have also been active in Rotterdam since 1 September, but from garages. This is part of a pilot by the municipality of Rotterdam. In the coming years, they want to fully focus on housing and more greenery. For that you have to cut the availability of parking spaces. Then shared mobility comes into play, in order to still guarantee a high transport value," says Bosman, who is pleased that there is an increasingly close collaboration between providers of shared mobility and municipalities and local authorities.

"In cities, people are increasingly aware of the public and available space. Car ownership is examined and that ownership is made less and less attractive. The idea is that there is no place for the car in the scarce space, especially because these harmful to the environment," says Tiekstra.