Episode 20 of the Vehicle 2.0 Podcast features two guests from the carsharing space: Steven Messino, CEO of MuvMe, Inc., and Dave Brook, Senior Carsharing Consultant for Carsharing.US. With these two experts and long-time collaborators on the podcast, we’re able to follow up on last episode’s deep dive into car ownership and learn more about the feasibility of carsharing going into 2020 and beyond!
Give the episode a listen for yourself, or dive into a selection of highlights from our interview below. As always, be sure to subscribe to stay tuned for future episodes!
Steven and Dave offer their thoughts on the current state of carsharing
Scot: How do you think about the car sharing space? There's some data points out there that say by 2030, maybe 10% of cars will be shared or not individually owned, but then another one will say the exact opposite, like 80% of cars will be outside of the ownership as we know it today. Do you have a point of view on where we're going to be in kind of the next 10 years or so?
Steven: Well, this is actually a great question because I spend a lot of time, usually in the summertime, thinking about where the market's going since I build technologies for it. And you always have to anticipate 3-5 years in advance of what's going to be coming. Dave and I, when we speak, we frequently get asked this question. The big mover and shaker here will be the autonomous car as it comes along, but it's going to take awhile. Everyone likes to say it's going to be here next year, but it's only in trial. Carsharing is going to be here for quite awhile, easily another 20 years, and it just gets convenient. If you spend much time talking to millennials, they are not really fans of cars as much as the previous generation. So they're more inclined to do car sharing, which has already proven out in all the demographics and still approves out today.
As they get older, they are going to start buying cars because they're going to end up having families, and that's going to be in cars. But if they could get away with not having a second car, I think they'll do it in a nanosecond and it's easy to just buy a second car to take kids to soccer practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If that's the only time you need the car or you needed a third time on Saturday to go shopping. So, I see this business being solid for 20 years. The primary technology change is as of 2018, 25% of all cars now have their telematics devices, which is what the smartphones talk to, built into the cars. So probably in 4-5 years. those of us who build technologies, we'll be using the car is built in devices in order to talk to them.
Dave: I'm not sure how much or they are going to be the car's built-in devices because I think the manufacturers are going to keep that information to themselves in case they want to start their own business. So I think the market for third party after-market type telematics devices is going to continue for quite a while. Steve and I differ slightly about how quickly autonomous vehicles are going to be a major factor; I think that they will start happening quite soon. But I think there are going to be specialized applications. You know, Tesla's clearly shown there's a lot of that possibility, but there may be autonomous taxis going in 10 years on a fairly large scale.
Steven and Dave on carsharing vs automaker subscription services
Scot: To talk about the newer models, it seems like we kind of had Uber and Lyft had their, their day and now they've gone public and those are really big billion dollar businesses. And then it feels like the peer to peer carsharing is where there's a lot of action at least. Between Turo and Getaround, they've each raised about 500 million. The subscription one seems to be less popular with consumers. Especially the OEMs have these subscription programs and they look good, like the BMW one's interesting; I think it's called Access. And you look at it and you're like, “this is pretty cool. I could just switch out the car based on my needs.” And then you look at the price and I think it goes 900, 1,500, and 2,500 a month and you have to take a step back. They feel like they're 2x the cost of a lease of that type of a car, which seems to be the initial reaction. Is that what you guys see?
Dave: Yeah. This is all kind of being done through dealerships. The OEM might be trying to, to sort of test the market with these subscription programs. Volvo has one as well, or has tried it. But what are you going to do with all these cars? If you have your BMW seven series and you get tired of it. Now this dealer has this used BMW seven that so you can put on the lot or he can try to lease to somebody else. I think that's where the difficulty of that is coming from: keeping the price so high.
Scot: Yeah, absolutely. Steve, do you agree subscriptions are facing some challenges, at least at the OEM level?
Steven: Yes. This was when subscription started with the OEMs. This to them was a great way to try out our BMWs, try our Mercedes, try out our General Motors cars and see which one you like; drive it for a week and get them out there. But I agree with Dave that because what you try to do when you're making cars available is maximize your usage in subscription. If they're sitting on the lot, they're not making money and then you have to charge a premium to cover your costs. So I believe that's probably the challenge until they can get activity up. But I don't see activity going up just to Uber and Lyft drivers and people who are testing them. That's not going to drive it either. So subscriptions, I don't think it's going to be a big player. But I think it's definitely going to be there and there'll be competitors out there trying to win part of the business.
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