In response to the rapid growth of the sharing economy in the country, Australia’s first car sharing platform, Car Next Door, is putting the pedal to the metal as they aim to disrupt the car industry.
‘Car Next Door’ is an application which allows its users to rent out their car to members of the community, effectively sharing their vehicle when it is not in use.
Currently, the car sharing platform has 30,000 ‘borrowers’ as well as 1000 cars available, a number which has tripled in size in the past 18 months.
The “sharing economy” is well developed within China, which has seen a boom in the market – individuals can rent out almost anything they own, whether it be their car, sports equipment, power tools, or accommodation.
In the Western market, companies like Airbnb and Uber are only just scraping the surface of this shared economy. Startups such as Car Next Door are the latest to recognise that consumers increasingly value the accessibility of a service, and are willing to forgo the traditional model of private ownership in favour of collaborative consumption.
The CEO of Car Next Door, Will Davies, says that the demand for shared utilities will only grow as Australian cities become increasingly urbanised.
The exponential cost of living within global cities – such as Sydney – means that entire demographics are shifting the way they purchase goods. Digital natives such as Generation Alpha will demand an accessible, affordable platform for almost every commodity, and cars are no exception.
The benefits of the car sharing economy extend far beyond the customer experience. Davies considers the current culture of car ownership to be “costly and wasteful”, and running an environmentally friendly business is a key part of Car Next Door. He wanted to start a business which had a “really positive impact on the environment”, and is proud to share that Car Next Door is reducing the amount of greenhouse gas caused by human activities.
This is good news for investors and the planet alike. State and local governments have taken a keen interest in the startup, eyeing its potential to keep cars off Australia’s ever congested roads.
With a government push for green-friendly activities, the next wave of investment could see funding from the public sector as well as private.
Davies is aiming to have a fleet of 10,000 vehicles by 2020, with cars in every major city in the country.
However, Car Next Door’s ambitions don’t stop there. Describing the transport industry as “literally the most fast-changing and soon to be massively disrupted industries”, Davies is looking to driverless cars as the real future of the business.
“There is no future in using ‘dumb’ cars for personal transport.”
“Driverless cars are the next big shift: they’ll be on available demand, they’ll be smart, they’ll be connected and they certainly won’t be individually owned,” the CEO said.
Car Next Door plans to be fully able to integrate driverless vehicles into their platform, as soon as they become publically accessible.
Taking advantage of driverless technology will allow Car Next Door to further challenge the current, “old fashioned” model of car ownership. Having hit the ground running in their first years of operation, Car Next Door is showing no indication of easing the pressure on Australia’s already volatile transport market.