On the back of successful trials, Ford have announced that it will open GoDrive to the public. GoDrive is a London-based car-sharing mobility experiment that. While there’s many startups in this field, this is the first big auto manufacturer that’s offering a car-sharing service.
Ford will invite 2,000 members of the public to use the service, what they’re pitching as a flexible, practical and affordable solution that provides access to a fleet of 50 cars at 20 convenient locations throughout the city. The trial used Ford’s Focus Electric and low-emission Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost models from secure parking hubs near major public transport locations.
“As cities become more and more congested, people are becoming increasingly open to new means of mobility, and car sharing is proving to be an appealing model,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “A crucial part of delivering effective car-sharing services is to learn alongside these drivers what best meets their needs and expectations, and complements their location and existing transportation infrastructure.”
Intended to complement existing transport systems for integrated journeys, GoDrive is the only car-sharing service offering one-way trips with guaranteed parking. A pay-as-you-go approach, with pay-by-minute pricing covers congestion fees, insurance and fuel. Drivers use a smartphone app to easily reserve and access a car. Half of the fleet consists of Focus Electric vehicles, a vehicle that is still yet to make it to Australia.
Ford are also exploring car-sharing experiments in Germany, India, and the U.S, so there’s potential we’ll see an Australian ride sharing service from Ford, if these trials are successful. Other car-sharing experiments by Ford include:
- Ford Carsharing, Germany: The first manufacturer-backed, nationwide car-sharing programme incorporating dealerships, has run for two years and recently expanded to 40 dealers in 67 cities with 135 locations. In partnership with large, multi-partner car-sharing company Flinkster, the service allows Ford Carsharing customers to use about 3,600 Flinkster vehicles, and Flinkster’s 270,000 customers to use the Ford fleet. Starting in 2015, customers can access a vehicle with a smartphone app, rather than a customer card
- Share-Car, Bangalore, India: Ford is working with Zoomcar to test a sharing concept that would allow small groups, such as co-workers, apartment dwellers and families, to share a vehicle among multiple drivers. The approach helps consumers who can’t afford a car but want the benefits of owning one. The pilot programme is expected to expand to two more communities later this year
- Car Swap, Dearborn, U.S.: An experiment using Ford-owned fleet vehicles. Participating Ford employees use a mobile app that allows them to search for a vehicle that meets their needs and negotiate terms of the swap. The experiment will provide an in-depth understanding of how Ford can help make car swapping easier
- Dynamic Shuttle, New York and London: Exploring a shareable service that will offer point-to-point pick-up and drop-off on-demand. The experiment aims to better understand the social dynamics and routing requirements of shared transportation for city dwellers
Disclaimer: Jason attended CES Asia as a guest of Ford.