The possibilities of the sharing economy are wide-ranging. Last week, for example, we saw the US' first shared dinner hosted via the Swedish shared dining app AirDine, which lets users pay to eat at strangers' houses and rate the experience afterwards.
And the market for peer-to-peer platforms is growing at a dramatic pace. Now firmly established as the bellwether for Europe, the UK's sharing economy is expected by PwC to continue to expand at over 30% per year over the next decade. According to the same PwC study, peer-to-peer transportation will remain the largest of the UK's sharing sectors, driven by urban ride-sharing apps and parking sharing platforms, which are growing at over 35% per year.
But despite this, a survey into the specifics of peer-to-peer car sharing by Octo Telematics found that two thirds (66%) of the UK population are unaware that they can make their vehicles available for others to rent for short periods of time when they are not using them - in exactly the same way they would let their flats or houses via platforms like AirBnB. Added to this, many of those who are aware of the concept, don't currently put their vehicles up for rent. So why the block when it comes to car sharing?
The survey of 2000 18-65 year olds in the UK found real reticence towards the financial incentives on offer. Of those that could be persuaded by the concept, 16% would be incentivised by receiving £26 to £50 a day to rent out their car, 12% would require £51 to £75 a day, and 11% would need as much as £76 to £100 a day in payment. This need for remuneration varied very little across age groups.
However, of much greater consideration according to respondents, was the security of their vehicles.
A massive 46% of respondents said they would be encouraged to lend their car if the car and driver are insured separately and if in the event of an accident, the owner of the car is able to claim against the driver's insurance. A further 34% would like to track and attribute damage, and 32% would like to be able to track the location of the car whilst it is being hired.
Ultimately, many do not realise that their cars already have the onboard technology to satisfy these concerns. Cars are increasingly akin to computers on wheels, laden with sensors and telematics trackers. Drivers should be reassured that they can use telematics technology to track the location of their car, understand the renters driving style and, in the event of an accident, provide point by point data necessary to substantiate a claim.
It is also promising to see the emergence of car-sharing-focused technologies, such as Omoove's EasyOpen, which essentially transforms smartphones into car keys. By enabling drivers to interact directly with the shared vehicle, the car-sharing process is made more secure, simple and efficient. EasyOpen will even work with some wearable devices.
Car owners, like many home and dog owners, should be at ease with earning a little extra from their cars through the sharing economy.