GoCar to invest €10m in service expansion

Car-sharing company doubling fleet to 1,000 vehicles with plans to add 70,000 drivers

GoCar managing director Colm Brady and Anne Graham, chief executive of the National Transport Authority, at a GoCar event on “the future of multimodal transport in Ireland”.  Photograph: Conor McCabe.

GoCar managing director Colm Brady and Anne Graham, chief executive of the National Transport Authority, at a GoCar event on “the future of multimodal transport in Ireland”. Photograph: Conor McCabe.

 

Irish car sharing company GoCar intends to double its fleet next year with an investment The Irish Times understands will amount to about €10 million.

Since the company was launched in 2008, more than 30,000 drivers have signed up to the service – a figure it expects will increase to 100,000 by the end of next year.

Additionally, GoCar is expanding its fleet from about 500 vehicles currently to 1,000.

Europcar, Europe’s largest car-hiring company, acquired the business in 2016 as part of its strategy to bolster the group against changes sweeping the car industry. Europcar also acquired the Irish franchise at that time and subsequently loaned it €22.4 million.

Since then GoCar has expanded its driver numbers threefold. The car rental company, headquartered just outside Paris, has set a number of targets for the Irish business including an increase in the total number of car sharing trips from 100,000 this year to 250,000 by the end of 2019.

“What we’re seeing is that the attitude for car ownership has changed. We wouldn’t be adding these cars if customers weren’t signing up and using them,”said GoCar managing director Colm Brady.

Pay as you go

GoCar allows members book and use and car register with the service with a pay-as-you-go pricing model. After a once-off joining fee of €10, rates for users start from €8 per hour with the first 50km of fuel included in each trip. Any distance over that is charged at 50c per kilometre; however, that reduces to 10c if the company is notified in advance.

GoCar’s expansion comes as a nationally representative survey shows that two-thirds of people believe the number of cars on the road should be reduced. The research, commissioned by GoCar and carried out by Coyne Research, shows that while more than half of respondents are not satisfied with current public transport options, 68 per cent believe the lack of alternative transport options prevents them from living without a car.

“Irish people recognise the need to reduce the number of cars on our roads for a multitude of reasons, chief among them the high cost of running a car, traffic congestion, and environmental concerns. Car sharing provides a great alternative to owning a car,” Mr Brady said.

Electric vehicles

GoCar’s fleet includes electric vehicles such as the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoe. And while electric vehicles are part of its expansion plans, Mr Brady said there needed to be “more dedicated infrastructure” to charge electric cars. The company also offers vans – which now make up 10 per cent of its fleet nationwide – a service Mr Brady says has been a “huge success”.

“We have a huge diverse group of people using the vans all the time. Our product has completely evolved at the request of the customer,” he said, adding that the company now offered larger vans than it did before.

Last year GoCar announced new partnerships with Irish Rail and local authorities, expanding services beyond Dublin and Cork to include Galway, Limerick, Kildare, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wicklow.