According to Berg Insight, the number of users has grown from 4.8 million worldwide at the end of 2014 (100,000 operated cars) to an estimated 6.5 million (with 123,000 cars) at the end of 2015. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.0 percent until 2020 when the total carsharing fleet will then reach 450,000 cars.
Roundtrip rental versus Free floating services
Today, most Carsharing Operators (CSOs) use station-based networks offering roundtrip rental. This operational model requires users to return a vehicle to the same station from which it was accessed. Some CSOs have also started to offer one-way carsharing that enables users to return the car to any station operated by the CSO.
“Another model that is rapidly gaining users is free floating carsharing, which enables members to pick up and drop off cars anywhere within a designated area”, said André Malm, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight.
Carsharing Operators Move to Smartphone-based Car Access Systems
At the technology level, Frost & Sullivan expects that in the next three to seven years, the market will move away from off-the-shelf technologies toward open source software, plug and play systems and smartphone-based near field communications/ Bluetooth low energy (NFC/BLE) technologies.
“NFC based technologies are being incorporated as a basic standard in smartphones by the majority of the smartphone makers. This will unearth opportunities for cost-effective, smartphone-based remote vehicle control solutions,” said Frost & Sullivan analyst Albert Geraldine Priya.