Car sharing to boom, suggests report

Around 77,000 vehicles in Europe will be shared by 2016, one in five of them electric, a new report released February 18 has suggested.

The study, by business analyst Frost & Sullivan, predicts that 5.5 million Europeans will be part of a car sharing scheme in 2016, thanks to emerging trends such as low-carbon car sharing and the growth of car-on-demand rental services. It also believes that from 2012, every third vehicle added to the region's car-sharing programs will be electric.

Frost & Sullivan believes that France and the United Kingdom will be the high growth markets, thanks to the strong government support for such services. The French government is already strongly supporting Autolib', one of the world's first EV sharing services in Paris, whilst London authorities are known to be keen to introduce a similar concept.

Car sharing has experienced rapid growth in popularity over the past five years, helped by the rising cost of fuel - such services market themselves on slashing the costs of vehicle ownership and reducing vehicle congestion and emissions. Because electric vehicles are suited to the short distance urban journeys often undertaken by car sharers, it is also predicted that sharing schemes will be a huge factor in the take-up of low-emission cars.

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