Interview with iCarsClub on Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

February 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Strategy and Leaders

iCarsClub - unlock

iCarsClub is the first company in Singapore to provide a peer-to-peer car sharing scheme, where car owners can rent out their cars to drivers looking for temporary use of a car without having to own one.

We spoke to Eddy Zhang, CEO and Co-Founder of iCarsClub, recently to find out more about his company. Here’s the interview:

Why did you start iCarsClub? Were you influenced by the concept of Collaborative Consumption or the Sharing Economy?

iCarsClub logoCars parked for days underutilized is both a waste of money and space. In addition to the land transport problem that Singapore currently faces, COE prices hitting the $90,000 mark means many car-owning dreams will be shattered.

We do want to make better use of the cars that are not on the road, saving our members money and doing our small bit to help the planet in the process. Furthermore, Singapore serves as a very good test bed for iCarsClub due to its strategic location and safe environment.

iCarsClub is influenced by the concept of collaborative consumption, being the first company in Asia to launch this concept specifically addressing the land transport issues in busy cities such as Singapore through our car sharing solutions.

How would car sharing benefit the environment?

A research done in the North America shows that one shared vehicle can take 6 to 33 privately owned vehicles off the road. This is made possible by reducing the number of private vehicle required to complete non-work trips.

While engaged in car sharing, vehicle miles traveled by members dropped by 67%, yet they were able to maintain mobility and convenience of transportation while getting access to a wider variety of cars. The drop in vehicle miles traveled will have a huge environmental impact that result in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from 39% to 64%.

Tell us more about iCarsClub and how it works.

iCarsClub is an online marketplace that allows car owners to monetize their “free” car time through a car sharing scheme. Car owners who wish to rent out their car when it’s free can do so, and drivers in need of a car nearby can find one.

This creates a win-win situation by lowering the costs of owning a car for owners, since car owners can earn up to $12,000 per year by sharing idle car time, while renters can also have the luxury of driving a car when the occasion arises without bearing the burden and hassle of owning one.

With a hardware system called iCarBox in placed, car renters will be able to unlock the cars using their smartphones and start driving. The iCarBox’s secured keyless entry technology allows the rental experience to be enhanced without the hassle of members meeting up for the transaction.

Being part of iCarsClub means we can better utilize the wasted car resources in our society and meet mobility needs at 30- 50% cheaper then traditional car rental services while easing traffic and saving the environment at the same time.

iCarsClub - Screenshot

What are some of the challenges you faced? Are Singaporeans receptive to peer-to-peer car sharing?

The greatest challenge iCarsClub face is the existing law that restricts peer-to-peer rentals to weekends and public holidays. However the matter is currently under review for the Land Transport Master Plan 2013 and Minister Lui Tuck Yew had noted in a previous interview that car sharing is a vital component in the land transport jigsaw.

As car sharing is a relatively new concept in Asia, the consumer mindset is not yet mature to embrace this idea. However from a recent iCarsClub survey, out of 92 drivers, 19% said that they are willing to be a part of a peer-to-peer car-sharing scheme. Even with a conservative estimate of 5%, the potential of car sharing is vast for iCarsClub.

What’s your plans for iCarsClub in the next 3 years?

We plan to further develop iCarsClub into an online community with the short-term goal of growing to 1,000 car owners and 5,000 drivers by this June and the long-term goal of expanding the community to 10,000 car owners by 2014.

Paired with our expanding list of partners that offer iCarsClub members privileges such as lifestyle, auto services and fuel discount, we aim to foster consumer awareness and acceptance among customers.

iCarsClub will also be expanding our operations to China’s first tier city, Shanghai and Beijing during June to further meet mobility needs.

Source and images credit: iCarsClub

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