Sunday 16 December 2018

Going shares in the future

It makes you think when a major car manufacturer joins up with a leading car-share firm

Let’s go: Patrick Magee, left, and Colm Brady at the GoCar/Renault EV launch
Let’s go: Patrick Magee, left, and Colm Brady at the GoCar/Renault EV launch

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It was a strange mixture last Monday. A manufacturer hell-bent on selling as many as cars as possible tying up with the country's leading car-sharing company - which reckons that every car they put on their fleet replaces somewhere between 15-30 vehicles on the road.

Yet, it was a satisfying glimpse into the future with Renault and GoCar when the latter announced the expansion of its fleet by adding five new Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 fully electric cars.

GoCar has now 300 cars in 200 different locations in the country and has doubled its rental availability in the last year.

It now costs just a one-off fee of €10 to join and taking out a Zoe car for an hour is €8 with 50km of driving included.

Patrick Magee, Country Operations Director, Renault Group Ireland, believes that car-sharing is the future and it is "coming quicker than you think".

Electric vehicles are also the future for the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi alliance which is launching 12 new EV vehicles in the near future.

There are more than 100,000 Renault electric vehicles in Europe today, with more than one in four EVs in Europe a Renault.

Renault has been Europe's best-selling electric vehicle brand since 2010 and Renault ZOE is Europe's best-selling electric vehicle. And as I reported last week, it is not a bad car at all, although still far too expensive. A fact that Patrick Magee says he is continually taking up with his masters in France.

Colm Brady the very enthusiastic, almost messianic, managing director of GoCar, said the scheme, which is run very much as "a club", now has more than 15,000 members and added that electric vehicles have been extremely popular with them since their introduction, with more than 800 GoCar members driving one since they came on stream in October 2016.

He said that GoCar's "mission" is to provide a "convenient, cost effective and sustainable alternative to car ownership", and the expansion of the EV offering with the Renault ZOE is another "great improvement to that alternative".

Colm Brady also revealed that the company is offering some GoCars without the massive branding on them that may make the scheme unattractive to some people.

The GoUndercover scheme costs slightly more than the main scheme but for me, would make a big difference.

With pay-as-you-go pricing and no subscription charges, the GoCar scheme is ideal for drivers who don't want to own a private car or for families who find themselves in need of a second car.

GoCar users can book cars online or via the app, then unlock them with their phone or GoCard. The keys are in the car, with fuel, insurance and city parking all included

Everybody should do their sums and, especially if you are a two-car household or live near great public transport routes, work out whether joining a club like GoCar makes valid economic sense.

I think the €10 joining fee is an absolute no-brainer even for people who live abroad and just come back home a few times a year. GoCar is now part of the Europcar group and expects to grow a number of collaborations with other car-sharing schemes across European capitals.

I like the buzziness of the GoCar people and their whole approach. The link to Renault's EVs is a clever move, although the mast majority of the GoCar fleet is more conventionally powered.

I wish them luck. It is a step into the future that is easy to understand.

Sunday Independent

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