Toyota’s electric carsharing program in Grenoble, France, has now been running for around 18 months — and the first extensive findings and results of the project have begun to be released the project partners.
So, what has the project revealed? Here are some of the primary findings to date (the project is set to run through August 2017):
- The vehicles are used more during the week than on weekends.
- The peak usage times of day are the same as for other transport modes: in the morning commute hours, at lunch time, and in the late afternoon.
- The average trip is 5 kilometers — well below the maximum range of 35 to 50 kilometers of the electric vehicles, proving that small EVs are very suitable for city use.
- The average rental duration is 45 minutes.
- Most riders — 75% — use the one-way option, picking up the vehicle at one station and dropping it off at another.
- 20% of users keep the vehicle for a stop-over.
- The most frequently used charging stations are the two located close to the train station, with a good spread in reservations across the other 25 stations in Grenoble and neighboring communes.
The user profiles assembled for the first 18 months of data are quite interesting as well. Here they are:
- Although the service attracts all kinds of profiles, the average user is a 36-year-old man, typically college educated, with a white-collar job.
- Students, which are a big part of the Grenoble population during the academic year, represent 14% of customers.
- 43% have a subscription to existing public transport services (city trams and buses, regional commuter trains, or national rail).
- 54% also take a bicycle 2 or 3 times a week and 41% on a daily basis.
- 74% own at least one car.
- The service enjoys a very good image: 92% of polled active users are satisfied or very satisfied; when compared to other transport modes, users value the practicality and the ecological aspects first, before other features like time savings, fun, speed and cost savings.
Here’s some background on the project (from a new press release):
Based on the idea that using several means of transport in combination (so-called “multimodality”) was one of the keys to solving city traffic gridlock and pollution, the project makes available 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles, the Toyota i-ROAD and COMS, on a sharing platform called Ha:mo (harmonious mobility). These eco vehicles can be hired up to one hour before use and are located in one of 27 charging stations installed and operated by Sodetrel, a subsidiary of French energy company EDF. The stations can handle the service’s proprietary badge or any existing public transport subscriber badge. People can use them either in a round-trip or one-way pattern, and they can be booked on a smart phone. Users can also plan their multimodal city trips by connecting to the Grenoble metropolis’ route planning service, Métromobilité.
…Located in the heart of the Alps, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole continues to generate innovations. Ranked by Forbes among the most innovative cities in the world (5th position in the 2013 ranking), the Métropole boldly embraces experiments. With 450,000 inhabitants and 49 communes, the Grenoble Métropole is home to one of the best transport networks of France: 5 tram lines, 350 km of cycle tracks, 7000 rental Métrovélos.
“When comparing Cité Lib by Ha: mo to other car-sharing services in their first months of operation, we find the results very encouraging,” noted Martin Lesage, Director of Cité Lib.
The project is certainly an interesting one. In particular, it’s interesting that project use has been as high as it’s been despite the already well-developed mass transit options in the city. The user profile revelation that 74% of project users own at least one car is also fairly interesting….