Green Cities Fit for Life

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Ljubljana gets electric car sharing service

Photo credit: Žiga Intihar

Ljubljana introduced a new electric car sharing service in July. The service, run by the Slovenian company Avantcar, is working to make sustainable transport more accessible and affordable while taking pressure off the city’s public transport fleet. Just a few years ago, an electric car sharing scheme like this might have seemed unrealistic as users are required to unlock and pay for cars using a mobile app. But mobile technology has become so well-integrated into everyday life that doing so has become extremely user-friendly.

Users can choose between three car models, depending on their needs: the Smart ED, the Renault Zoe, and the BMW i3. The rental price is calculated based on the model of car selected, distance travelled, time spent on the road, and the time of day the rental occurs (night tariffs are cheaper). Currently, as part of the pilot phase, there are 50 vehicles in use in Ljubljana, available for hire at one of the 14 stations spread across the city. The stations connect the city centre with the airport, shopping centres and the city’s technology park. Plans to expand the number of cars and stations next year are already in full swing, with the eventual aim that the service will progress into a ‘free floating’ system—allowing users to leave the cars anywhere. More than 500 units will enter circulation around the city.

Not only are the cars run entirely on electricity—cutting emissions and noise pollution within the city—but the electricity itself comes partly from renewable sources: Avant car provides power from its own solar facilities. Car sharing schemes have been shown to reduce the amount of cars on the street. Acantcar estimates that every car rented has the potential to replace approximately 15 individually-owned vehicles.

Apart from these environmental benefits, electric car sharing also saves people money: the cost of owning a car is high. Ditching your car for a more sustainable option like this means that you only have to pay for the time you spend using the vehicle. There are no registration, insurance or maintenance fees. Even the cost of renting a parking space and fuel is included in the rental price.

Car ownership in Slovenia is still highly sought-after, so Acantcar has developed an educational programme to counter that mindset. This is something that distinguishes their service from other electric car sharing schemes. Before driving, users must also complete a seminar covering the mobile application, charging, and operating procedures.

Electric car sharing is helping Slovenia toward its goal of becoming a reference point for green and digitally ambitious projects. Ljubljana's strategic and central position could easily connect its surrounding cities within and outside Slovenia into the scheme as well.

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