Co-cars is the hire by the hour car club for Exeter and the wider South West for people, communities and organisation. We run the biggest car club fleet of low emission petrol, hybrid and electric vehicles in the area. We also run Co-bikes, the UKs first on-street, city electric bike network in Exeter. Our electric cars and electric bikes are powered by renewable energy from Good Energy so all are zero carbon. Our aim is to provide sustainable mobility for all.
We are an independently owned not-for-profit social enterprise that has been established since 2005. As a social enterprise our commitment is to provide services that change the way people move for the benefit of society and the environment. By offering shared cars and electric bikes we help our members save money, have a healthy lifestyle and create a better environment to live in for all. As a not for profit we re-invest our surplus into improving our service.
We cover from Cornwall to Wiltshire from cities to rural villages and new housing developments, with our e-bikes available across Exeter. Our cars and bikes are used by local residents and their local mobility, by local authorities and businesses as staff pool cars and bikes. We are expanding to our areas in the South West. We partner with key organisations such as GWR with cars at their train stations across the South West and with University of Exeter with e-bikes on campus.
Transport equates to over 30% of CO2 emissions and poor air quality. Car clubs go some way to reduce overall journey distance and enable the use of more sustainable, low carbon, forms of transport. On average, one car club car results in 10-20 private cars being taken off the road. When a car is purchased, trips by public transport reduce by around 80% for the driver and 50% for non drivers. A Co-cars members independent survey showed a 42% increase in usage of other forms of transport, including buses, with 75% of members driving less often and no one reporting an increase.
Why does it work? Research by the University of Aberdeen has found that car use goes down because:
For each member, the average reduction in transport CO2 emissions is between 10-33% (Carplus Survey, 2009) due to less trips and miles travelled as behaviour changes. Detailed research shows car club usage reduces household CO2 by 8% pa. (GHG Impacts of Carclubs in US, 2010).
Co-cars can support lower income groups to have access to a car by making it more cost-effective, eliminating the hurdle of raising capital or being locked into higher purchase agreements.
Professor Jillan Anable from the University of Aberdeen concluded that car clubs:
The majority of our vehicles are new Toyota cars provided by Snows in Exeter; these are mainly hybrid, EV battery / petrol or solely petrol cars, and are all lower carbon emission models. We have dedicated on-street parking bays as well as at train stations, which is where the cars are parked, and as a member of Co-cars you automatically have access to all of our cars across the South West.