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Do we need to own a car?

Your car spends about 95% of the time sitting in a garage – yours or somebody else’s – and only 5% of time doing the work it’s designed for. It’s surprising that we so readily accept paying so much for something that just sits around. What if there was no such thing as car ownership?

You won’t need to

Experts claim that, in the not so distant future, we won’t need to own a car. Already car ownership is declining throughout the western world. At the same time, designers are developing cars that can drive themselves, using different types of smart app.

No wonder manufacturers want to control the apps for ride-sharing:

  • Daimler first launched car2go in late 2008
  • GM invested in Lyft and is about to launch Maven
  • Toyota put money into Uber
  • VW has just invested in Gett
  • BMW has put money into Scoop.

On-demand mobility

The way motoring executives express it, there will be a huge global need for “on-demand mobility services” and they want to be there to profit from it.

Gett, for example, already uses analytical predictive algorithms that can be used for operating on-demand autonomous cars. Scoop also uses algorithms and pre-schedules to find the most efficient way of sharing a car or route.

Toyota, which already sells its cars to the taxi business worldwide, is hoping to do the same with Uber. This could upset a few taxi drivers, who already buy Toyota vehicles but are threatened by Uber. Many taxi drivers now use Toyota Camry and Prius rather than Ford Falcons or Holden Commodores. Toyota and Uber will also collaborate in some other ways, such as developing in-car apps, sharing knowledge and setting up new fleets. As one Toyota executive says:

“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility.”

Pool of vehicles

Users of Uber already know you don’t pay for the car, you pay for the kilometres. In future, there will be a huge pool of vehicles to choose from, whether utes, luxury sedans, or just a little electric car for one. It will be interesting to see which manufacturers manage to get a decent slice of this ever-expanding pie.

Meanwhile, who will want to own a car? Perhaps it will become a niche activity for people who just love cars, hot rodders, or collectors of antiques. On the plus side, you will never have to get a quote for your CTP green slip again.

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