Free-floating car-sharing: positive assessment for electric vehicles


Users of free-floating car-sharing see electric vehicles as just as flexible and practical as conventional vehicles. In addition, electric vehicles are regarded as more environmentally-friendly and thus more attractive than conventional passenger cars. This is the finding of the first analyses conducted within the “share” research project, which is carried out by Oeko-Institut and ISOE - Institute for social-ecological research in cooperation with Daimler’s car-sharing service car2go. The first results of the multi-year project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, are presented today at the project’s half-time conference.

Up to 2016 the researchers will analyse whether and to what extent free-floating car-sharing models can contribute to climate protection and what differences are emerging between the use of conventional and electric vehicles.

“We are looking both at changes in transport behaviour – for example, whether privately owned cars and public transport are used more or less frequently – and at the user groups of free-floating car-sharing,” says Friederike Hülsmann, expert on sustainable mobility at Oeko-Institut. “In order to estimate the contribution of free-floating car-sharing to climate protection, we are also calculating the greenhouse gas (GHG) balances of car2go’s Stuttgart fleet of battery electric vehicles and Cologne fleet of cars with combustion engines.”

Thomas Beermann, CEO of car2go Europe, welcomes the study and its interim results: “We see car2go as an ideal complement to local public transport and as an integral part of a multi-modal mobility mix.”

Free-floating car-sharing finding high acceptance among users

The first analyses of the large-scale user survey in Stuttgart and Cologne show that it is above all young, well-educated people living in cities who are making intensive use of free-floating car-sharing services. Almost all of them own a smartphone and combine different means of transport depending on the situation, e.g. they may start their journey by bus, but then switch to a car-sharing service.

“The users of a free-floating car-sharing service value in particular that it is so versatile and can be used as desired,” says Konrad Götz, mobility expert at ISOE. They also find it attractive to have the freedom to use any public parking space and are also not forced to drive back to the place of departure and can use the vehicle one-way. Additional benefits are that the users do not have to concern themselves with vehicle maintenance and that there are no fixed monthly costs. “As a result this car-sharing concept also attracts people who tend to reject public transport because they regard it as inflexible,” says Götz.

This form of car-sharing satisfies a general trend in which above all young people want, first and foremost, to be mobile but do not necessarily want to have their own cars. To what extent this development has an effect on transport behaviour overall – especially on the use of privately owned cars – can only be assessed after the second project phase in which more long-term trends will be analysed.

Further information on the project:

Oeko-Institut’s and ISOE’s presentation for the half-time conference “Research on new car-sharing: Expert research on car2go. Interim results from June 2014” (in German)

Webpage of German Federal Ministry for the Environment regarding the half-time conference on the use of e-car-sharing schemes (in German)


Mandy Schoßig
Head of Public Relations & Communication Department
Phone: +49 30 405085-334

ISOE – Institute for social-ecological research
Melanie Neugart
Communication & Public Relations
Phone: +49 69 7076919-51

moovel GmbH for car2go
Andreas Leo Corporate Communications Manager
Phone: +49 711 1763259