'Like having a pool but useful': Why more Australians will share electric cars

Shared electric vehicles are being offered in apartment buildings, office blocks and hotels
SBS news
December 4, 2022

What if you didn't need to own a car? What if you could just pop downstairs and borrow one whenever you need a ride?

That is the proposition being made to residents in an increasing number of Australian apartment blocks, office buildings, hotels and even retirement villages.

It's part of a new trend in transport, an extension of car-sharing services, and a way many drivers are trying electric vehicles for the first time.

Transport experts say the trend could also have significant consequences for car ownership in Australia, and the number of car parks we see in future buildings.

The trend falls under the umbrella of "shared mobility" and it is being introduced as an amenity in new developments, large buildings where car parks are scarce, and urban apartment blocks where residents want to reduce their costs.

Ohmie Go founder and chief executive Kyle Bolto said the company had 14 shared mobility spaces operating in buildings around Australia, another 20 under contract, and he wanted it to be "in at least 100 buildings by the end of 2023".

Convincing building owners to take up the service was simple, he said, once he explained how it worked.

"We've got a bit of a throwaway line: we say it's like having a pool but useful," Mr Bolto said.

Shared mobility services like Ohmie Go offer electric car fleet packages. The company provides vehicles as well as chargers and electrical infrastructure, insurance, registration, regular detailing, roadside assistance, and a software system for residents to book and pay for vehicles.

Residents are charged modest fees to rent the shared cars — driving a Tesla Model 3 for an hour costs $16.50 from Ohmie Go, for example — and Mr Bolto said the service was changing the way residents viewed their own vehicles.

"We are genuinely now starting to see some of our users say, 'why on earth do I own a car? This makes no sense'," he said.

"We have a mission to change the way people think about vehicles.

"For certain demographics in outer suburbs, regional areas, rural areas, we understand (owning a car), but in dense urban environments, we're really trying to use the transition to electric vehicles as an excuse to say, 'you don't have to buy your own car that sits there 90 per cent of the time'."

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Ohmie GO is Australia’s first electric mobility platform for buildings, which was founded in 2018. Ohmie GO is building the future of electric mobility and transport in partnership with Australia's most innovative and sustainable players in the property industry, changing the relationship between buildings and mobility.

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