Zen Car electric car sharing system
The concept of car sharing was introduced in Belgium a few year ago. It promotes the car renting culture so that customers, in so far possible, do not need to own a car. By switching from a product to service oriented concept, car sharing potentially can have a large long term impact related to decreased material consumption. In Belgium a particular succes has been achieved by companies Zen Car, which is a new comer using only electric cars and Cambio, which has had a longer presence in Belgium.
Zen Car car sharing is a model of electric car rental where customers rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. The system is attractive to customers who make occasional use of a vehicle, as well as others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use day-to-day. Rather than promote the automobile, the service aims on giving it a limited and reasonable use. The system is simple: take or drop-off a car at any of several parking points in Brussels. Every user has a monthly subscription and an electronic card for a key. Every subscriber has the possibility of having a vehicle 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The vehicles can be booked by customers via the internet or by telephone anytime. The booking is transferred within minutes to the vehicle station. At the station, the key safe or vehicle can be opened with the customer's smart card. After returning the car, the trip-data for billing is transferred automatically to headquarters.
Zen Car parking points are conveniently located close to train stations and major points in Brussels. The company is contantly extending its network of stations and continues to expand.
Barriers and Drivers
Main driving factors:
- Economic potential and a well proven business model
Economic side related information (such as costs and profit) is not available, however it is clear that the business model behind this scheme is viable. It is successfully competing with another car sharing company Cambio (in Brussels).
Flexibility provided by access to cars 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
Long term environmental impact is linked to the use of electric cars which do not produce emissions and noise while driving.
Picture source: Zen Car ©