Austrian municipalities: Caruso peer-to-peer car sharing

In contrast to the global trend, car sharing in Austria remained static for the last 15 years. The introduction of electric mobility on the one hand and the entry of new market players on the other hand have reactivated the sector.

The context

Electric mobility requires new concepts for car-use. The Austrian case studies will help address the current lack of relevant concepts and role models to fostering electric vehicles in car sharing schemes.

Vorarlberg was the first Austrian e-mobility model region, supported by the national Climate and Energy Fund. Starting in 2009, Vorarlberg -project developed with the VLOTTE one of the largest European model regions. After the first three years, 357 electric vehicles were set on the streets and drove 2,5 million kilometres. In addition, a wide charging infrastructure has been established with three fast charging stations at strategic places.

VLOTTE developed a comprehensive mobility package with partners. Car sharing with electric vehicles was foreseen from the beginning, but the first attempts failed because of several reasons, including:

  • Lack of experience and know how on car sharing
  • Lack of suitable technology
  • Unclear legal situation (chamber of commerce said that it’s not allowed to rent out cars by private persons, municipalities and companies except car rentals.)
  • Rural areas have difficult preconditions for car sharing (e.g. extended trip range and low population density).

Parallel to the VLOTTE-project, Caruso initiative developed concept and tools for peer to peer car sharing and now focuses on electric vehicles. The concept came out to be quite successful and promising. Companies and municipalities show interest in electric car sharing schemes.

Car sharing in sparsely populated areas is a big challenge; even more so in the case of electric vehicles. The big question is how to initialise a cultural and behavioural change from car ownership to flexible car use and from petrol to renewable energy sources. Especially in small towns and rural areas, where many people are dependent on private cars, it’s hard to change traditional mobility patterns. Within eBRIDGE companies and municipalities that are willing to make a second attempt will be supported by the eBRIDGE consortium to improve the efficiency of their fleets and to try mixed used concepts for private and business use.

The tasks

Intermodal mobility concepts

One precondition of introducing a new mobility concept is that the usage in daily life runs smoothly. Our task is to introduce tools and features that facilitate car sharing and that run smoothly; also to support the users, especially in the initial phase of acquaintance with the new rules.

Supporting materials such as FAQs and information material will be elaborated to improve attitudes towards electric vehicles and to reduce range anxiety: for instance, information on the battery status in the booking system can help tackle initial preferences towards conventional cars.

Establishment of car sharing in companies and municipalities

During the project, 18 company and municipal electric vehicles will be shared, allowing the combined use of the vehicles for business and private purposes.

Marketing and information campaigns

A set of materials such as leaflets and brochures will be produced, to raise awareness and to reduce preconceptions against e-mobility. These materials will be promoted among users and interested companies, in order to foster cultural change towards more sustainable mobility will be fostered.

Usage Monitoring

Together with the evaluation of booking and trip data, the constant contact with the users will help get reliable feedback on the driving experience and improve the applied concepts.

The goals

Besides the overarching goal of establishing electric car sharing in the business mobility context, concrete targets related to operational optimisation and general awareness raising will be pursued by the local project partners:

  • Expansion of electric fleet
  • Improved degree of capacity utilisation
  • Increased number of users
  • Increased number of involved companies and institutions