The auto industry is on the verge of a revolution. Cars are an integral component of multi-modal, on-demand transportation systems. Under the influence of new technologies, the old view of the family car – or cars – as a necessity is disappearing.
- Daimler launched ‘car2go’ in partnership with Europcar Autovermietung GmbH in 2011. Daimler’s ‘car2go’ models incorporate advanced telematics, and serve more than 1 million users across 60 cities in eight countries.
- The BMW DriveNow car-sharing service is based on the “pick up anywhere, drop off anywhere” Electric cars are included in the DriveNow fleet. Passengers in San Francisco and select cities of Europe can locate cars using an app or find one on the road, use a chip in the driving license as the key, and leave the car anywhere. Users are billed based on the duration of travel, which includes fuel and parking charges.
- American ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, founded respectively in 2009 and 2012, are both multi-billion-dollar companies today. Uber is experimenting with autonomous vehicle technology that will further revolutionize the transportation sector.
These developments mean that fewer and fewer people need to own a car. Private car ownership among millennials in particular is declining, or at best being postponed. More than half of adults between the ages of 22 and 37 say a car is not worth the money spent on maintenance. Even more of a threat to the old view of car ownership is the decline in the number of people who go to the trouble of obtaining a driver’s license. In the 1980s, 80% of 18-year-olds in the U.S. had one. Now that figure is only 60%. There is also ample anecdotal evidence for anyone who lives in an urban area that more and more people have settled on the bicycle as their vehicle of choice.