News from Germany: Carsharing developed positively during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic
Carsharing in Germany has developed positively during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the conclusion from the annual carsharing statistic, which the German Carsharing Association (bcs) published on 17th February.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on car sharing in Germany in 2020. The general decrease of mobility during the two lockdowns led to a considerable reduction of bookings and turnover among car sharing providers.
Nevertheless, the German carsharing operators can draw an overall positive balance. According to the current annual statistics of bcs, both stationbased and free-floating carsharing gained more users in the past year. Their number rose from 2,290.000 to 2,874,400 customers, an increase of 25.5 percent.
At the beginning of 2021, there were 228 car sharing providers (companies, cooperatives and associations) in Germany – two more than in the year before. The number of municipalities in which carsharing is available rose from 840 to 855 during 2020. The number of carsharing vehicles increased from 25,400 to 26,220 – a slight increase of 3.2 percent.
These figures show that the Corona crisis has not yet led to a reduction of the carsharing supply in Germany, but growth was well below the average in 2020.
The geographical expansion of stationbased carsharing is significantly slowing down due to the pandemic
Carsharing is currently offered in 855 cities and municipalities in Germany. While the number of carsharing locations increased by 100 in 2019, only 15 new locations were added in 2020. This shows that the rate of expansion has decreased significantly during the pandemic. The widespread German carsharing offer is done by station-based services only. Free-floating operators are providing growing fleets in large metropolitan areas but did not expand geographically in recent years.
New customers: Free-floating carsharing is growing dynamically
The number of free-floating-users increased by 36.1 percent last year to 2,150,300. Since free-floating carsharing is mainly offered in the central regions of big metropolitan areas, it seems reasonable to assume that this dynamic growth corresponds with the temporary switch of public transport passengers to carsharing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Free-floating carsharing thus provided a saver alternative to public transport for public transport customers. The number of customers of stationbased services rose by two percent to 724,100. This is a small increase compared to previous years. It corresponds to the fact that this carsharing variant is often used for longer, planned trips which decreased significantly during lockdowns.
Combined carsharing systems: Boundaries of market segments begin to dissolve
In combined carsharing systems, stationbased and free-floating vehicles are offered by the same provider via the same app in an integrated tariff. The number of cities with this kind of carsharing service rose from 14 to 20 in 2020. The bcs welcomes this development, because according to several scientific studies the impact of combined carsharing systems on private car ownership is as good as the impact of stationbased carsharing offers. On the other hand stand-alone free-floating systems according to studies often have little or no impact on private car ownership. Combined carsharing systems seem to be a good and growing way to provide free-floating carsharing in a more sustainable way.
Information on the annual German carsharing statistics: For the annual carsharing statistics, bcs collects data from all carsharing services in Germany, whether they are bcs members or not. Since some customers are registered with two or more providers, double counts may occur when carsharing customers are counted. Reference day is 1st January 2021.
About the bcs: The German carsharing association (bcs) is the umbrella organisation of German carsharing providers. The aim of the association and its members is to reduce the number of cars, the amount of car traffic and the environmental impact of private transport. bcs promotes carsharing as a modern mobility service that should be closely combined with public transport. You will find more information about carsharing and its positive effect on the urban transport system at www.carsharing.de