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Feb 28

Rise in Electric Cars Could Spark Rental Boom

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Ride-sharing companies that specialize in electric vehicles or are expanding into using more green-technology vehicles have discovered a link between consumers and their automobile preferences that they claim will work in their favor down the road. As reported by utility drive, several firms offering sharing services like rides and vehicles predict that as demand for electric cars grows, the demand to own an automobile, regardless of how it’s fueled, will steadily drop.

Those were observations made by executives at international car-sharing company Uber and California based Envoy. According to a recent story posted in Utility Drive, households who live in rented homes are more likely to use an electric-oriented ride or car-sharing service, due to the lack of recharging facilities. The first wave of car owners opting for electric vehicles have the added convenience of being able to charge their vehicles at home, an option that isn’t readily available to those living in rented accommodations. Auto manufacturers aren’t the only ones seeing this trend as a red flag. Car rental agencies are also keeping an eye on this possible shift.

The lack of charging facilities prompted the Smithsonian to release a report on the issue in July. In it, the findings showed that the absence of such infrastructure was the major reason why those who owned a home were three times more likely to buy an electric car than their renting counterparts. Information released by the U.S. Department of Energy revealed that four-fifths of all electrical vehicle charging took place in private residences. But for the roughly one-third of Americans who live in rented homes, buying a similar vehicle isn’t an option if charging facilities aren’t even available.

One Envoy executive told Utility Drive that the movement away from ownership is already happening, especially among households who rent homes in urban and suburban neighborhoods. That is putting companies that share rides and cars in the driver’s seat, at least until city planners tackle the issue surrounding the establishment of accessible charging stations.

An Uber executive remarked that making those stations available in urban areas is a relatively new concept to city planners, auto makers and utility companies. But consultants have added that charging stations aren’t profitable at the moment, simply because electric vehicles make up such a small share of the auto market. They also argue that driving and ride patterns have to be further observed before anyone decides on the right urban locations to add those facilities.

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