[Updated on 5 Feb 2021, 5:30pm]
Car-sharing has been one of the pioneering ideas of the sharing economy in Singapore.
From the convenience of renting a private vehicle by the hour or day to choice of vehicle for your need, the flexibility provided by car-sharing services has attracted customers.
Moreover, the hourly prices of station-based car-sharing are very competitive to the prices of traditional car rental services.
It has been steadily gaining in popularity, as people relook into their transportation needs versus the costs of car ownership.
Singapore “remains the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car”, according to a 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Outlook on car-sharing is positive as Singaporeans start to turn to such services without the financial commitments and liabilities that come with owning a car.
Who Are The Car-Sharing Players In S’pore?
Started in March 2016, Tribecar has the most diverse fleet of vehicles for rental including motorcycles, vans and lorries.
Currently, they have over 400 locations and almost 500 vehicles.
Their rates start from as low as S$0.50 an hour for its ‘Super Economy’ category, making them the cheapest service in this list alongside Shariot.
One thing to note is that you have to return the car to the exact parking lot where you took it. You also have to return the car above the reserve fuel indicator, which means you have to bear the fuel cost.
Launched in December 2017, BlueSG is the pioneer of electric car-sharing services in Singapore.
It currently has a fleet of 667 shared electric Bluecar vehicles and 1,487 charging stations that is spread across 374 locations islandwide, from public housing, to city centre and commercial estates around Singapore.
When it first started out however, it only had about 80 Bluecars and 30 charging stations. Now, it is the world’s second largest electric car-sharing service, trailing behind Autolib’.
Unlike most car-sharing services, BlueSG adopts the “point A to B” model. This means that you don’t have to return the car at the same location you picked it up.
Additionally, as it is pay-per-use, you only need to pay for the trip duration and you don’t have to pay for petrol or parking fees.
3. Car Club
Car Club has been around since 1997, and they are the first car sharing rental platform in Singapore.
There are over 110 Car Club stations and a fleet of more than 260 cars across Singapore, which have to be picked up and returned at the same location.
They have different car-sharing price plans to cater to different users. The Value Plan is great for frequent users, while the Basic Plan is ideal for light users. They also have a Lady’s Plan, that offers lower rates than the Basic Plan.
The distance charge includes petrol costs, but users need to return the vehicle with at least a quarter of tank fuel. Fuel can be topped up for free using Esso Speedpass attached to the vehicle key.
4. Drive lah
Drive lah is the first peer-to-peer car-sharing platform in Singapore that allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles.
They currently offer daily, hourly and long-term rentals. Rates start from S$25 a day.
On their website, they have over 1,000 cars listed, making them the largest fleet of cars and also the largest in terms of varieties (having the most number of different models).
There is an additional fee to cover for insurance and the development of the platform, paid to Drive lah.
To collect the car, you are required to meet your host at a designated pick-up point and after the time’s up, you would need to drive the car back to your host.
The collection process can also be made even more convenient if you opt for cars that are Drive lah Go-enabled.
Such cars are installed with a device that allows the user to open the car keyless, as well as tracks where the car is going.
Drive lah claims that their rates are “30 to 40% cheaper” than traditional car rental firms. However, petrol is pay-per-use so the user has to return the vehicle with the same level of fuel.
Shariot is the latest car sharing player in town, which prides itself as having one of the lowest rates among other car-sharing services in Singapore.
Similar to CarLite, they allow short-term rentals as fast as 15-minute bookings. Charges are based solely on the vehicle class and booking time.
According to Shariot, their rates range from S$1 per hour (super off-peak hours; 12am to 5.59am) to S$10 per hour (peak hours; 6:00pm to 11:59pm).
Cars are expected to be collected and dropped off at the same location.
Petrol charges are pay-per-use and users have to make sure the petrol level of the vehicle is above ¼ tank when returned.
WhizzCar has 15 years of experience in offering car-sharing services.
They have a fleet of 170 cars and 58 stations, and pick-up as well as drop-off need to be done at the same station.
The rates for rental of a WhizzCar are the same throughout the day and week, except for business hours rental.
Their rates differ across the membership plans and type of car, but are inclusive of petrol costs. The user has to refuel at any Esso petrol station using the Speedpass attached to the key before returning the car.
CarLite is one of the newer players in the market but their rates are competitive. They allow for 15-minute bookings, which are great for anyone who only requires the car to go short distances.
Rates are S$1-S$2 for every 15 minutes, which is a good deal if you are driving home from the supermarket and do not want to take public transport with bags of groceries in hand.
There are five tiers of cars to select from. All tiers are self-pump and petrol costs are to be borne by the driver.
Here are the fleet sizes and rates from each of the players:
Penetration Rate Of Car-Sharing In S’pore Set To Increase
According to Statista, user penetration is 6.8 per cent in 2021 and is expected to hit 8.5 per cent by 2025.
Due to Covid-19, demand for most car-sharing firms here surged, as commuters may prefer to travel on private vehicles to avoid jostling with the crowds on public transport or share rides with others.
During the first phase of exiting the circuit breaker in June 2020, Tribecar’s revenue increased by 40 per cent while Whizzcar saw a 20 per cent increase.
BlueSG bounced back from its loss incurred during the circuit breaker with a 50 per cent jump in rentals.
Drive lah saw a 20 per cent rise in month-on-month revenue in April and May during the circuit breaker, and the number of active users went up from about 5,000 in April to 7,000 in June.
All the companies share the same sentiments — car sharing is seen as a “safer option” during this pandemic, resulting in the increase in demand.
With that, it comes as no surprise that car-sharing is set to increase even more in the Covid-19 period.
Is Car-Sharing The Future In S’pore?
Car-sharing is increasing in popularity, with revenue projected to reach US$130 million (S$173.5 million) in 2021 and show an annual growth rate of 9.9 per cent.
By 2025, projected market volume is set to reach US$190 million, showing great potential for car-sharing.
A good thing about car-sharing is that it takes away the long-term liabilities that come with a depreciating asset such as a car. This is especially prevalent in Singapore, where high costs of car ownership may not be practical over time.
A new Standard Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 costs S$96,888 as of November 2020. Every year, you might expect to pay an average of S$1,591 a year on car insurance, S$621 for servicing/maintenance costs, S$742 in road tax, and S$2,434 in petrol costs.
A recent finding by Car Club shows that most cars are under-utilised and sit idly in car parks 80 per cent of the time. Drive lah’s research further affirmed that Singapore sees 11,520,548 of unused car hours per day.
Unless you have a need to drive frequently, owning a car is not a practical expense. As a result, many people are starting to rethink about their transportation needs versus the costs of car ownership.
Car-sharing can also fill the gap between public transportation and private vehicles.
For some trips, walking, cycling or public transport would suffice while for more urgent or even more routine activities in between, car-sharing is a better option.
Furthermore, car-sharing gives you the option to only pay for usage, petrol, insurance and maintenance.
From an environmental point of view, car-sharing means lower carbon dioxide emissions as it results in less cars on the roads.
Lastly, according to recent statistics from Data.gov.sg, there are over 2 million qualified driving license holders in Singapore.
This presents a large opportunity for companies and startups alike that are looking to gain a slice of the car-sharing market in Singapore.
Featured Image Credit: BlueSG / Shariot / WhizzCar / Car Club / Drive lah / Tribecar