“Electric carsharing has a bright future ahead”

Published by on 07.10.2020 - 4 min

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After a successful launch in Madrid, Groupe Renault has just rolled out its ZITY service in Paris. The 100% electric carsharing service co-developed with Ferrovial is off to a strong start. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to speak with Gilles Normand, Senior Vice President of Electric Vehicles & Mobility Services at Groupe Renault.

Zity launched in Paris on May 20th with 500 ZOEs available for carsharing. How have things been going so far?

In mid-June, just three weeks after the launch, ZITY in Paris had already been used by more than 10,000 people. A car is rented every 4 minutes for more than 4 hours on average. Parisians need to get out for a change of scenery now more than ever. Our very flexible offer, with prices by the minute or the day, seems well suited to their needs. One quarter of our vehicles also come equipped with child safety seats.
In addition, we worked with the AP-HP (the university hospital trust of Paris) and the Red Cross to offer free use of 140 ZOEs to health care workers during the Covid-19 health crisis. This gave us the chance to both test the service on a large scale and establish strict health protocols, which reassures our clients.

Gilles Normand, Senior Vice President of Electric Vehicles & Mobility Services at Groupe Renault
Gilles Normand, Senior Vice President of Electric Vehicles & Mobility Services at Groupe Renault

Do you think your early success is a result of the current context or is it sustainable?

Is it a question of chance, combined with curiosity, at a time when people are trying to avoid public transportation? It’s too early to know. But if we look at the situation in Madrid where ZITY has been in use for more than two years, the service has already returned to 85% of pre-Covid activity, whereas automobile traffic is only back up to 70%. 

I think it’s more that the health crisis has reinforced the growing desire, especially among young people, for a new kind of mobility; one that’s clean and carbon-free. No trouble finding a place to park, no need to bother with insurance or vehicle maintenance, cars that emit very low levels of greenhouse gases and fine particles, flexible use — the carsharing service offered by ZITY meet all their expectations.

 
The carsharing service offered by ZITY meet all the consumer expectations!
Gilles Normand Senior Vice President of Electric Vehicles & Mobility Services at Groupe Renault

Based on this success, are you planning to introduce ZITY anywhere else?

ZITY is already available in the Paris suburbs in Clichy, and, since June 22nd, in Boulogne-Billancourt: an emblematic town for Renault and the location of the Groupe’s headquarters! If it continues to be a success, we will gradually be able to enlarge our perimeter outside the French capital. But we must also ensure that the service remains profitable: a primary requirement for its continued existence. We also intend to roll out the service elsewhere in France. 

In Europe, ten different cities have already expressed interest in ZITY. Our goal is to confirm one or two of these plans by early 2021.

Zity Paris eiffel tower

Zity is one of the cornerstones of Groupe Renault’s mobility strategy. On a global scale, how do you see the future of carsharing?

Positively! By 2030, one third of the automobile mobility market is set to consist of this type of service: no longer car owners, but rather car users. Multimodal transport is already gathering momentum in cities. We are convinced that affordable electric carsharing is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to these trends and the environmental challenges of the future. 

Its development will be supported by two primary players. Firstly, by city authorities for whom the service offers a way to reduce traffic congestion, pollution and parking spaces — the popularity of carsharing is closely linked to population density. And secondly by companies, both for employee use and for last-mile delivery in city centers.

ZITY Paris app

With all that in mind, how is Groupe Renault developing its carsharing services?

We are already able to meet all the demands from local authorities and companies in terms of different types of solutions, vehicle quantities and models. For example, we favor free floating in very large cities, and a stationary system for smaller communes and company fleets. We aren’t trying to implement our own service in every city, which is why we often partner with other electric mobility actors such as GreenMobility in Copenhagen, Oslo and, more recently, Göteborg and Malmö, as well as Aimo in Stockholm and Fetch in Amsterdam. 

In terms of vehicles, ZITY uses ZOEs, whereas our partner TOTEM Mobi chose Twizy for Marseille, and IKEA has added Kangoo Z.E. to its fleet. Renault Mobility, the Group’s stationary carsharing service, already offers the whole line of Renault and Dacia cars in France. And, as a manufacturer, we keep up with the latest innovations that can be added to vehicles to make them better suited for electric mobility. For example, we are working on adding an integrated electric box to our ZOEs that will let them communicate with the carsharing application. 

We also pay very close attention to client feedback regarding the quality of our services, and are continually learning from our experiences in order to keep developing in line with this market segment that’s about to take off. From the 11,000 electric vehicles available through carsharing services in Europe in 2019, around 8,000 were made by Renault. We expect the European fleet to reach 120,000 by 2025. Our mobility services are ready to meet these new challenges!

 

Copyright: Groupe Renault, LEMAL, Jean-Brice, PLANIMONTEUR