Car exchanging as a service- A new future to add to the mobility as a service

With newer business models coming up every now and then within the sharing economy, and autonomous self driving cars at the cusp of becoming a reality soon, mobility as a service is going to explode in the future. With tech advancements and pinpoint precision location based services, one interesting model of car sharing is with startups like Turo( going ipo soon) Getaround, Maven(now defunct though from GM) that concentrate on short term rentals from cars of private owners. Car owners rent out their cars to consumers who would otherwise had to rely on car rental companies such as AVIS, Hertz (almost going bankrupt during the pandemic), etc. 

Thinking further, an extension to this model would be car exchanging or car owner sharing.

Car next door, a startup based out of Australia enables your neighbors’ cars to be shared between people within a locality. Given that the pandemic reduced the usage of cars, it definitely paved the way to further car sharing options where one car can be used among many neighbors. This novel idea could be definitely leveraged by Zipcar too for example in the US that already has location based tech and was a pioneer of the car sharing model a decade ago.

Another spin to car sharing would be the ability to exchange your car with another neighbor or another car owner within your locality for a brief period of time. Say you have a BMW X5 and you want to drive a Volvo XC90 which is of the similar level, using technology provided by Zipcar,Turo or Car next door can enable effective car sharing where a person gets to drive multiple cars while effectively owning just one car. 

“A frosty start in the car yard.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0

This is in contrast to the current trend where we tend to lease or buy a new car every two or three years. Imagine the possibility of never paying for extended leases when you have the ability to drive multiple cars by exchanging your car with another car owner near your house. A marketplace that is a closed door social network like Nextdoor along with a Zipcar like location tech will be an ideal platform to enable such business models on car sharing.

A supporting trend that may change the course is post pandemic, people may prefer to drive by themselves and at the same time flexibility to still drive and use other cars. In contrast, models from Uber and Lyft still rely on having a driver who brings his/her car to drive and provide rides.

A plethora of options exist for the future for mobility as a service models. It remains to be seen which of them will be effective and co-exist with existing structures.

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