WhipCar – the future of car ownership?
Carsharing represents the freedom to go anywhere at any time without having to own a car. The advancements in Mobile Web technology have made it extremely easy to localise a car, get in, and drive off. On the other hand, buying your own car is a pricey affair, an underused asset. Especially when extra costs such as maintenance and insurance are taken into account. Carsharing has become particularly attractive as a business mobility alternative for people who need a car solely for the purpose of getting to work quickly and comfortably. Another problem of ownership is that on average a car in Britain, for instance, is driven only one hour a day but costs almost 7000 Euros to keep per year. A car’s daily rhythm thus mostly consists of standing around waiting to be driven like a lazy person’s dog waiting to be taken on a walk. But what could one do with all those cars? Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day you could drive off in any of the parked cars dwelling at the side of the road whilst paying an amount to the owners who spend money on something they don’t use? Or asked differently, isn’t there a way to do more with your car when you don’t use it? Let’s see.
Drive your neighbour’s car
It’s called WhipCar.com, a free collaborative consumption rental service coming from the UK. Launched in 2010, it is a marketplace where you can offer your car to others for a day, week or up to a month. Based on the demand in your location and the car itself (model and age), WhipCar establishes an estimate of the kind of money you can expect to earn by lending it others. It’s like renting out your flat or house to others when you go on holidays helping you to cover the expenses of ownership. This has a business mobility advantage because if your neighbour never uses his or her car when you need to go to work, you could easily drive it. It seems like a brilliant idea because both parties highly benefit. But would you give your car, a very personal item, to your neighbour? WhipCar claims that most bookings are made between the same people. So once a trust relationship is established, person A always “rents” their car out to person B who lives just in the vicinity.
WhipCar.com: Minor Flaws
It will be interesting to follow whether WhipCar’s success swashes over to other countries. One bug that needs fixing is the tedious process that comes with borrowing your neighbour’s car: before and after inspections, premium insurance payments, and constant rankings of drivers and car owners. It is hence more convenient to use a car from a corporate carsharing company when you’re just on a business trip in the UK. An exception could be made when you find a car that is unrivalled in its affordability. There are 19.000 registered cars (members) at the moment, which definitely leaves space for improvement. Also because all of them are based only in London. Yet, WhipCar is an exciting new interpretation of how we can use our cars better and more efficiently. It will be interesting to see how this idea’s potential develops in future times.