Glasgow doubles electric car sharing club 

More than 4,200 members already share 54 electric and hybrid cars in pay-as-you-go scheme run by Co Wheels that makes electric vehicles (EVs) more accessible. 

Cars are expensive to buy and to run, and many owners don’t drive that often. We’ve seen a steady decline in car use over the past 20 years. In 2002, the average total mileage of cars in the UK was 9,200 miles. In 2019, that had fallen to 7,400 miles and in 2022 to 6,600 miles (source: NTS0901: Annual mileage of cars by ownership, fuel type and trip purpose: England, 2002 onwards). Average trips made by car drivers fell from 438 in 2002 to 337 in 2002, less than one per day (source: NTS0303: Average number of trips, stages, miles and time spent travelling by mode: England, 2002 onwards).

A white electric car from the Co Wheels car-sharing club in Glasgow, parked in a club bay

Photo courtesy of Glasgow City Council

The car club in Glasgow offers an attractive alternative to full ownership. A pool of hybrid and fully electric vehicles are available for collection by club members from 47 on-street parking bays across Glasgow. Some 17 parking permits are also being introduced, allowing club EVs to be parked in 12 designated zones across the city. Further work is being undertaken to provide club EVs near to new housing developments. 

Since the scheme began at the start of the year, an average of 1,555 bookings per month are now made through the car club. As well as increasing the pool of available cars – with 17 more being added over 2023 – the number of locations across the city where EVs can be collected is also expanding. The plan is to increase availability by 100% over the next five years. 

The car-share scheme obviously cuts down on the number of cars on the road, helping to ease congestion. There’s also less emissions from hybrid and electric cars – fully electric vehicles emit no emissions of the tailpipe. The share scheme therefore supports wider efforts in Glasgow to tackle pollution. The city’s low emissions zone (LEZ) introduced in 2018 has had a dramatic impact in improving air quality. In June, the LEZ was expanded. 

Cllr Angus Millar, City Convener for Transport, says: ‘The car club is increasingly becoming a fixture in Glasgow’s transport system and I’m delighted the scheme will continue to grow over the next five years. Extending the availability of vehicles across the city will make our car club more convenient for users and help ensure car share as a viable way to get about Glasgow. 

‘Initiatives like Glasgow’s car club are a great way to reduce our overall reliance on private vehicles which create congestion and fuel carbon emissions. The car club approach also ensures people who only require a car at certain times or for certain purposes to use one without having to own, store and maintain one 24/7. 

‘With low or zero emissions vehicles only available through the car club, the scheme can play an important role in our efforts to create a net zero Glasgow. 

‘More and more people are moving away from running their own car and that can be for a variety of reasons such as cost, environmental impact or issues with parking. The car share club takes away the complications of owning a vehicle while still ensuring a vehicle is still available for private journeys.’ 

Richard Falconer, Head of Locations and Business Development at Co Wheels, adds: ‘Our presence in Glasgow continues to see remarkable growth, with an ever-increasing number of residents and businesses recognising the environmental and economic benefits of alternative approaches to traditional car ownership. 

‘Our planned expansion over the next five years speaks volumes about the city’s commitment to embracing eco-friendly alternatives for their travel needs and marks a significant step towards a greener, more accessible, and sustainable future for the city.’ 

In related news:

‘Gigahub’ for electric vehicles at NEC Birmingham 

E-cargo bike trial for businesses in Bristol 

Manchester to pilot UK’s first peer-to-peer electric vehicle sharing platform


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