Why a car club is the cheapest route to driving an EV in London

New research from Collaborative Mobility UK reveals that if drivers in London opted to drive an electric vehicle that belonged to a car club, rather than buy their own, they would be, on average, £5,573 better off.

Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK ) is a charity dedicated to the social, economic and environmental benefits of shared transport. This enthusiasm takes in car clubs, shared bike and scooter schemes, mobility hubs and ride share schemes.

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In their latest research, they have examined the merits of two environmentally responsible alternatives: joining a car club or buying your own EV. 

Pay per trip car clubs give people access to a car without the responsibilities that go along with owning one. 

The first commercial car clubs, who charged by the hour and distance, emerged in 1999. According to CoMoUK’s figures there are now 767,899 members of car clubs in the UK, twice as many as five years ago.

There are 5,167 vehicles available to those members, a disproportionately large number of which – 3,458 – are in London.

CoMoUK undertook this latest research after a survey by the Department for Transport revealed that people on lower incomes are far less likely to consider buying an EV than those who are better off.

CoMoUK compared the costs of car club use with ownership and leasing for three common types of EV sold in the UK:  a new Tesla Model Y (the UK’s most popular EV), a new Renault Zoe and a five-year-old used EV such as a Nissan Leaf.

They found that on average, using a car club EV would save Londoners £5,573 per year compared to owning an EV that is less than three years old.

This figure rose to £6,167 per year when the use of a car clubs was compared to leasing, an increasingly popular option for  buyers dipping their toes into the EV market. 

The figures are based on UK Government data showing that on average, Londoners make 155 car trips per year as a driver, with the average trip taking 24 minutes and covering 7.5 miles.

For 155 trips of this duration and distance, the annual costs for using a car club EV start at around £1,389, including insurance and fees for charging and mileage.

The costs of EV ownership vary widely depending on brand, model and usage, but new cars in the lower price range are available from around £30,000.

If you manage to find yourself a five year-old EV, then well done, you’re probably thinking that you’re in the money thanks to the slower depreciation of older cars.

However, this does not take into account that most car club members drive much less frequently than the London average, taking five or fewer trips per year and when this is factored in, even buying a five-year-old EV worked out as £1,156 more expensive than access through a car club.

Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said: ‘Our research shows that Londoners who join car clubs are not only helping to cut pollution and road congestion, they are also saving thousands of pounds a year compared to buying or leasing their own EV.

‘Affordable access to a growing fleet of green vehicles is one of a number of advantages enjoyed by car club members.

‘Our previous research has also shown how each car club vehicle in London takes 29 private cars off the road. This is equivalent to removing more than 100,000 cars from the capital’s streets, giving everyone more space, better air quality and lower city-wide emissions.

‘Car club members also use public transport and walk or cycle more than Londoners in general.’



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