EV carsharing companies to watch, also research on Uber/Lyft affect on transit and auto use

Recent research on the risks of TNCs to transit, congestion, and GHG increase cited on NYTimes.com

Researchers at the U.C. Davis Institute of Transportation Studies surveyed 2,000 people about their travel behavior in seven major metro areas, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and including people who live in their suburbs and those who don’t use these services. Results suggest that ride-hailing draws people away from public transit. And the authors, Regina Clewlow and Gouri Shankar Mishra, estimate that 49 percent to 61 percent of ride-hailing trips either wouldn’t have been made at all if these apps didn’t exist, or would have been made by foot, biking or transit. All of those trips, in other words, added cars to the road that otherwise wouldn’t have been there.

That picture implies that Uber and the like could make traffic worse. And let’s further assume that many of those trips additionally require drivers to cruise around waiting for rides, and to “deadhead” occasionally after the rides are over (to return to, say, the airport with an empty back seat).

3 percent said they rode heavy rail like subway systems more since starting to ride-hail. That’s consistent with the idea that apps could help you travel the “last mile” home from the train if you don’t live near a stop, or that they could help you cobble together transportation options once you ditch your own car. But 6 percent said they rode the bus less, and 3 percent said the same of light rail.

If transit agencies partnered with these companies, as some have begun to try doing, ride-hailing could fill niches that trains and buses don’t handle well, like late-night journeys, transit for riders with disabilities, and suburban service.

“There’s this potential opportunity for policy makers, city planners and these firms themselves to find solutions where we’re steering toward that future,” Ms. Clewlow said. It’s unlikely we’ll get there by chance, though.

Shared Use Mobility Center 5 EV Car Sharing Entities to Watch

When you combine two drivers into one shared ride, you halve your emissions and double the efficiency of that trip. A growing body of research also suggests that carsharing can directly reduce long-term reliance on private autos, with each carshare vehicles taking nine to 13 private vehicles off the road by giving consumers confidence to sell or forego the purchase of a car.

Additionally, carsharing can help provide sufficient demand for new charging networks and increase visibility and adoption of EVs by putting thousands of users behind the wheel new EV models. As the respective benefits of shared mobility and electrification have become clearer, the number of EV carshare programs has continued to grow around the world. Here are five systems to watch:

Maven Gig (Various Locations)

An offshoot of GM’s Maven carshare platform, “Maven Gig” provides weekly car rentals for drivers of services like Grubhub, Uber and Lyft. While drivers are able to choose from a variety of Chevy vehicles, the most popular have been the battery-electric Chevy Bolts. The program launched earlier this year in San Diego and has since expanded to Detroit, San Francisco, LA, Phoenix, Boston, and Washington, DC. The company expects to add 2,000 to 3,000 Bolts for use in Maven Gig as the program expands to new markets.

Blue LA (Los Angeles)

The Shared-Use Mobility Center is working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the City of Los Angeles on a pilot focused on providing shared, electric vehicles residents in disadvantaged LA neighborhoods. The program, BlueLA, launched earlier this year and will ultimately bring 100 electric cars and 200 charging stations to select neighborhoods across the city. The hope is this one-way carshare model can help take 1,000 private vehicles off the road.

The system is operated by Bollore, which also runs Autolib’ (Paris), BlueCity (London), BlueIndy (Indianapolis), and the just-announced BlueSG system in Singapore. Both BlueCity and BlueSG aim to deploy upwards of 1,000 vehicles by 2020, with up to 20% of the charging station network available for public use. Autolib is by far the largest, with more than 4,000 cars in its system.

  • Membership will range from $0 to $10 per month, with membership fees waived for early adopters. Members are eligible to receive income-based discounts of up to 80 percent of the full $10 per month. Nonmembers will be able to reserve cars for one-time use at higher rates.
  • Member usage fees will be $.20 per minute, with qualified low-income members paying $0.15 per minute (a 25 percent discount). All prices include the cost of insurance and parking.
  • Users can park BlueLA vehicles in any legal space while in use, but will need to plug their vehicle back into one of the system’s stations to officially end their trip.
  • Residents can currently pre-register for membership on the BlueLA.com website. Full registration will open later this summer.

Residents can also visit BlueLA.com for more information and to suggest and vote on proposed station locations. A project steering committee – which includes the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), and TRUST South LA – is also engaging in grassroots outreach to ensure that community members have a voice in the program’s design and rollout.  The BlueLA project is supported by $1.67 million in grant funds from the California Air Resources Board and $1.82 million in EV infrastructure rebates, fee waivers and in-kind support from the City. Bolloré Group – which has been operating electric carsharing in Paris since 2011 and launched the Blueindy EV carshare program in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2015 – will initially invest at least $10 million in the program’s fleet and charging stations.  Altogether, the two-year pilot is expected to recruit a minimum of 7,000 new carsharing users, who in turn are expected to sell or avoid purchasing 1,000 private vehicles, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,150 metric tons of CO2.

Affordable Housing EV Carshare Pilots (Sacramento, CA and Portland, OR)

Smaller in scale but still worthy of mention is a program announced earlier that will provide a total of eight electric Kia Souls to residents of three public housing complexes in Sacramento, thanks to CARB funding and a partnership between the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Mutual Housing California, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the City of Sacramento, Policy in Motion and Zipcar.

similar partnership between EV advocacy group Forth (formerly Drive Oregon), local utility Pacific Power and the Hacienda Community Development Corporation has also located three used Honda Fit EVs and chargers at Portland’s Vista de Rosas affordable housing apartment complex. The pilot program makes offers daily electric car rentals for $10 to $12 through peer-to-peer carshare operator Turo.

Volkswagen Green City Initiative (Sacramento, CA)

As part of its high-profile settlement with regulators over its diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen has agreed to provide $14.7 billion to states over the next 10 years to promote zero-emission transportation. The automaker’s campaign, Electrify America, announced this July that it will commit $44 million over the next two years to building out a network of EV charging stations in Sacramento. The infrastructure is intended to support an EV carsharing program, as well as electric delivery vehicles and taxis. Electrify America is expected to begin installing charging stations in early 2018, with talk already of expanding to the nearby city of Fresno.

Emov (Madrid, Spain)

In December 2016, Madrid gained an electric carshare service with Emov. One of several similar ventures in Europe—including another recently announced program in Madrid, Zity—the program made headlines for its massive popularity: more than 100,000 customers joined in the first five months. The free-floating, one-way carshare program allows users to take advantage of free parking provided to electric vehicles, part of an aggressive effort to curb emissions in Spain’s capital. Emov is a collaboration between the carsharing platform Vulog and PSA, the auto manufacturer behind Peugeot. Emov will operate with 500 of the PSA’s C-Zero battery electric cars. The program is set to expand to other European cities, as well as eventually to the U.S.

For more information on EV carsharing, and to keep up on the latest trends across the shared mobility industry, be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter, the Mobility Hub.

Dockless Bikesharing Hits a Sweet Spot on Wired, Oct 2017 – excerpt

…Dockless Bikesharing figured out basics like how to enter a market, how to build internet-connected bikes that lock themselves, and how much to charge. (LimeBike is as inexpensive as $1 a ride). “A lot of questions have been answered,” he says.

Jeff Jordan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz who led LimeBike’s March funding, was inspired by the rapid growth of Mobike and Ofo. For dockless bike sharing to work stateside, he believes operators need strong relationships with local governments.

Technically the dockless companies can enter a market without asking permission. They only need to leave some bikes around the city, and anyone with the app can start riding. But since bikes are portable and can be left anywhere, they’re vulnerable. An unhappy city regulator could round them up and haul them away at any time. “[This is] ask permission, not forgiveness,” Jordan says, reversing a popular Silicon Valley mantra. “It’s not like Lyft, where the cars are moving around, or Airbnb, where you don’t publish the address.” (Andreessen Horowitz has invested in both companies, which have tussled with regulators in cities around the world.)

The market is getting crowded. Five bike-share companies are operating in Washington, DC—Mobike, LimeBike, Ofo, Spin, and JumpDC. It’s reminiscent of the early days of ride-hailing, when it felt possible that Hailo, TaxiMagic, Gett, Juno, or Whisk might take significant market share. Uber’s aggressive fundraising propelled it to its leading position. “We did not expect to be running unopposed,” Jordan says, and he expects the market will consolidate to a “winner-take-all” situation similar to ride-hailing.

LimeBike believes it can fend off rivals with a city-friendly approach. That includes investing in higher-quality bikes (including safety features like solar-powered lights), sharing aggregated usage data with cities, and educating riders about where to leave their bikes. In addition to cities, LimeBike is targeting universities and corporate campuses, including the University of Notre Dame and Arkansas State University. “It’s a relationship land grab,” says CEO and cofounder Toby Sun.

Mobike cofounder Hu Weiwei says she believes being the “biggest and first” player in the market with operations in 100 cities gives her company an advantage. Further, Mobike has customized its bikes for the US to include features like gears.

Motivate, the docked bikeshare leader, has been critical of the what it calls “rogue” dockless bike-share programs. It is also venture-backed: The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Generation Investment Management, the investment firm of Al Gore, as well as Equinox Fitness and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs. Motivate’s dockless rivals argue that their services are complementary to the docked programs, since they aren’t limited to areas where docks are installed and can scale up or down quickly to meet changing demand.

The bike-share companies are spending their venture funding aggressively to compete. Like Uber and Lyft, the bike-share companies argue that they can turn a profit in markets where they’ve operated the longest. Unlike Uber and Lyft, they don’t have to pay drivers, though they have to maintain bikes, replace stolen ones, and move ones parked inappropriately. Sun says LimeBike can be profitable if each of its bikes is used two to three times a day. “The model works, but we need a lot of bikes,” he says. “People ride more because they see the bikes. It’s very simple.” The influx of competition means LimeBike is pedaling as fast as it can.

UPDATE, 2:55pm: This story has been updated to note that Ofo began serving Washington, DC last week.

MoGo racks up 100K rides; plans adaptive bike share in 2018 by Robin Runyan, Detroit 17 Oct 2017

17% of long-term passes fall under the $5 Access Pass, an option for riders who receive state assistance. More than 2,000 Monthly and Annual Passes and more than 18,000 Daily Passes have been purchased to date.  Its peak ridership date was Open Streets Detroit, in which MoGo offered free rides. 2,100 rides were recorded that day.  70 riders have also taken part in free Street Skills classes, which help riders who are new to biking or who would like to be more confident on a bike in an urban environment.

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

We checked in with MoGo last month, after its first summer of bike sharing in Detroit. We now have more comprehensive numbers after its first five months, including average ridership, where riders live, and what kind of passes they’re buying. We also have an idea of what’s in store for next year.

MoGo announced today that in spring 2018, they’ll launch an adaptive bike share pilot, which will provide bike options such as tricycles, handcycles, and tandem bikes for seniors and people with disabilities.

MoGo launched in May 2017 and recently hit 100,000 rides, averaging about 705 rides per day. MoGo currently has 43 stations and 430 bikes throughout a range of neighborhoods. These neighborhoods span from West Village to Southwest Detroit to the Riverfront to the North End.

MoGo reports that they’ve had riders from every zip code in Detroit. The average ride is 22 minutes long. Over 76,000 miles have been covered on a MoGo since launch.

As far as passes go, 17% of long-term passes fall under the $5 Access Pass, an option for riders who receive state assistance. More than 2,000 Monthly and Annual Passes and more than 18,000 Daily Passes have been purchased to date.

Its peak ridership date was Open Streets Detroit, in which MoGo offered free rides. 2,100 rides were recorded that day.

70 riders have also taken part in free Street Skills classes, which help riders who are new to biking or who would like to be more confident on a bike in an urban environment.

In terms of the environmental and health impacts, Mogo estimates that 50,900 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions have been offset, which is the equivalent of more than 56,500 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle. Also, they estimate more than 3.2 million calories have been burned, enough energy to generate more than 3.7 million watts of energy.

“Seeing Detroiters embrace MoGo as a new way to move around the city has been nothing short of thrilling,” said Lisa Nuszkowski, founder and executive director, MoGo. “We’re proud to provide a transportation option that’s serving a diverse range of people and needs, and we look forward to continuing to provide that service as we move into the fall and winter seasons.”

MoGo operates as a non-profit affiliate of the Downtown Detroit Partnership.