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Car-Sharing Services Struggle to Survive in Sweden

BMW’s car-sharing division Drivenow will shut down its operation in Stockholm following a multi-million-dollar loss during its two-year run, a fate similar to competitor Car2go, who shut down its Stockholm division in late 2016 [1].

 

The free-floating car-sharing service Drivenow will leave the Stockholm market by October 31st this year, a decision now made following a 69 million SEK (roughly 7.5 million USD) loss during the project’s two-year lifetime. Two of the main reasons behind this action is an insufficient user base and employment of the service, coupled with an unsustainable economic situation in regard to high congestion taxes and parking fees. Drivenow has a fleet of 300 BMW’s and MINI’s that will now find homes in other European cities. The world’s largest car-sharing service, Car2go, met a similar fate in 2016 after disputes surrounding parking with the local authorities, coupled with poor employment rates made them leave Stockholm as well [2].

Users of car-sharing services in Stockholm might have a reason to skip the mourning process though, as newcomer Aimo is taking the opportunity to launch an all-electric car-sharing service in Stockholm with an aim of a fleet of 300 vehicles ready in a couple of months [3].

Sweden’s leading car-sharing service, Sunfleet (soon to be integrated into Volvo’s new mobility division “M”), is still making progress through a struggling market. They now urge lawmakers to clearly define what separates a “car-sharing car” from other vehicles, a legal baseline needed to make meaningful changes to this branch of the industry [4].

 

Personal comments

Although Aimo will try to fill the gap of a lasting car-sharing service in Stockholm with their own edge, going electric might not be enough, as evidenced by the recent shutdown of the all-electric service Autolib in Paris, who reported a loss of €233 million before calling it quits [5]. Especially in Sweden, and Stockholm, a closer cooperation with policymakers is necessary to create a stable legal framework that can benefit both the industry and the city in a sustainable way, a task that has proven hard so far, however that might change depending on the result of the upcoming election this fall.

 

Written by Darijan Jelica, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources (1-4 in Swedish)

1. 2018-07-18. BMW:s bildelningstjänst lägger ner i Sverige.

2. 2016-09-30. Stockholms parkeringselände sätter P – Car2go lämnar Sverige.

3. 2018-07-27. Aimo blir ny bildelningstjänst i Stockholm.

4. 2018-07-02. Här är önskelistan från bildelningsföretaget.

5. 2018-07-09. Paris pulls the plug on Bollore’s Autolib electric car-sharing service.