Car sharing for individuals and businesses
With its clean-fuelled vehicles, Malmo’s SunFleet is Europe’s first environmentally sound car-sharing scheme.Photo credit: Sunfleet
Implementing sustainable mobility
Prior to the CIVITAS SMILE measure, only one private car-sharing club existed in Malmo, offering two vehicles operating on conventional fuel. An attempt to introduce a car-sharing club with electric vehicles had proved unsuccessful and the city had no commercial car-sharing alternatives.
In an effort to reduce levels of air pollution in the city, the aim of the measure was to provide individuals and companies in Malmo with access to environmentally sound vehicles in a way that discourages dependence on private car ownership.
The objective was to set up five car-sharing sites with a total of 15 vehicles, of varying model and size, targeted at a range of users (public and private companies and private individuals). The aim was for 40 percent of fuel used in the vehicles to be clean (i.e. ethanol or biogas) after 18 months, increasing to 50 percent after 24 months.
In order to be able to assess the needs and behaviour of each user group, it was planned to establish separate car-sharing sites for different users. Two smaller car-sharing sites were to be established for business users only; one public-only site was planned for a residential area, possibly in partnership with a housing company; one site was to be created at the central railway station, possibly in partnership with the public transport operator; and one larger site was planned for central Malmo, for businesses, the local authority and the general public.
The first SunFleet site for companies and the public was opened in 2005 close to the central railway station. In 2006, the second car-sharing site was established in the Western Harbour area. During 2007, two additional car-sharing sites were opened in city centre, and by the summer of 2008 all five car-sharing sites were opened and about 15 cars were operating in the city.
Sunfleet discovered that it makes better economic and practical sense, for both Sunfleet and its customers, to allow all types of users access to all cars at all sites. Car availability increases for customers and cars are used more often, meaning that fixed costs are recovered faster and prices can remain competitive.
Interest in using the system was not initially as great in Malmo as it has been in other similar-sized cities in Sweden, although the number of members had begun to rise by mid-2008, giving scope for expansion. According to surveyed citizens, awareness of car sharing had risen from 28 percent in 2003 to almost 47 percent by 2008.
By virtue of the shift from petrol to other fuels, it is likely that emissions of CO2 nitrogen oxides and particulates were reduced.