ZipCar: Car sharing for the future

I have two Volvo S40, two BMW 328xi, a Toyota Tacoma Pickup, a Cooper Mini, a Mazda 3, a KIA Soul, and a Ford Escape in my garage. Best of all; I pay less that $20 a year to get access all of them as much as I want. They get washed and cleaned, and I never bother about repairs or maintenance. I pay for use and don’t even worry about gas prices or toll stations. I’m a Zipster by ZipCar. You can be one too!

ZipCar Volvo

My car this weekend – Volvo S40 from ZipCar (c)tnetland

ZipCar is a car sharing company. Probably the best in the world. When you share cars instead of owning an own car you get multiple benefits:

First, if you only need a car occasionally you will most probably reduce your costs drastically. On average the price of a car for 24 hours is $100, including insurance, toll and gas up to 180 miles a day. Second, you do not need to worry about insurance, road charge, toll, gas prices, car value devaluation, washing, maintenance, car audits, theft, parking, repairs, special need for load volumes and utilities, and so on. In fact, the only thing you have to care about is having a whole lot of fun while driving hassle-free around in the car of your choice. Third, you book the type and color of car you want and need for the occasion. I booked the 4-wheel drive Ford Escape for my trip over snowy mountains three weeks ago, and this weekend the sea blue Volvo S40 for a trip to the Eastern Shore and Baltimore. Fourth, because you do not own a car you will use your bike, legs or public transportation to get to and from work and events. If you want to be even more green and good, you can choose an electric or hybrid ZipCar when driving. For the areas that have a good offer of ZipCar, there is absolutely no reason to not be a member. Sell your car and be free as a Zipster!

zipster – zip•ster (zĭp′ster) n. slang: “One who uses Zipcar. A gender neutral term for a person (or people: Zipsters) who believe in cost-effective transportation solutions that are good for the planet and easy on the wallet.” (www.zipcar.com)

ZipCar

You lock and unlock the ZipCar with your zipcard – the regular key sticks in the car.

ZipCar makes it extremely easy to book and rent cars over internet or through your phone. It is a three-click experience in a very user-friendly web page and app. You lock and unlock the car with your zipcard. Everything is computerized and as simple as it gets. Of course, it works because all Zipsters agree to pay consideration to each other. No smoking, no pets, no littering are the simple rules. (If you’re a reckless person, owning an own car is probably a better option).  You might also be interested to know that while ZipCar needs you to bring the car back to the place you picked it up (for many obvious reasons), there are also some other car sharing companies that allow you to leave the car in any public parking lot (like Daimler’s Car2Go that offers Smart cars paid by the minute). Car sharing is a business model for the future. Sustainable for us who needs wheels from time to time and much more sustainable for the environment than every one owning their own car. It is literally car sharing for the future.

Zipcar Zip Zip!

Zip Zip! (Photo: miss604 Flickr.com)

I am certain that this business model will grow steeply in the future – at least in crowded cities. ZipCar is the world’s by far largest car sharing company with 650,000 members and approx. 10.000 cars. Today, you can find Zipcars in more than fifty major cities in North America and the United Kingdom. Of course, car sharing is only a desired option for people who live in places that offer cars  in a high enough volume, good enough availability and in immediate closeness  to the user. In the next years to come, I am certain that these criteria will be met in an ever-growing number of countries and cities. Don’t zip up, ZipCar!

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