Driving change: The (car)Sharing Economy

Borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbour doesn’t feel like economic participation. But such peer-to-peer interactions form the basis of the sharing economy: goods and services accessed from a community network, rather than a centralized organization. The sharing economy can reduce waste, save money, and build community connections. The internet has extended the reach of this economy, creating vastly populated platforms of individuals sharing their resources.

Recently we attended the Canadian International AutoShow, and learned about two innovative new platforms that are connecting the automotive industry to the sharing economy. See below:

Maven

Maven has created an app-based carshare service that transforms the rental system. Perfect for occasional-use drivers with a fleet that includes compact, sedan, SUV and electric vehicles (like the Chevy Volt). Mark Latchford — a general manager at Maven— explained how the company is unlocking carsharing.

“Our app becomes the key to our vehicles.”

Vehicles are available through Maven in cities including Boston, San Francisco, Washington D.C. — and most recently, Toronto! Learn more at Maven.

Swtch

Swtch brings an essential car accessory into the sharing economy: the EV charger. Recognizing the need for more EV infrastructure, this startup allows individuals to rent their home charging stations to fellow drivers, who locate these stations through a website or app. Swtch co-founder and COO Laura Bryson talked us through peer-to-peer charging:

“Let’s leverage the existing base of chargers for public use in a more cost-effective and efficient way.”

Swtch currently provides access to chargers in Ontario and British Columbia, with a focus on Toronto. To find a charger or register to rent your own, visit Swtch.

Lend what you have

From participating in a peer-to-peer platform to developing your own, there are many ways to get involved in the sharing economy. Begin by studying the resources you have, and those you’d like to have — a one-time use item, an in-demand skill, and more. An internet search or face-to-face networking can connect you with others looking to use or share these resources. Popular peer-to-peer platforms include Airbnb (home or room sharing), Uber and Lyft (ride sharing) — you may be participating in the sharing economy without even knowing it!

If this article has energized your interest in the sharing economy and the possibilities it creates for electric vehicles, share and stay subscribed to The Electric Blog!