Can the Coronavirus crisis be an opportunity for change? Can we create a greener economy?

On Saturday 12 December, the UK and UN will host the Climate Ambition Summit to encourage world leaders to come together to urgently tackle climate change. We caught up with our partners at ZipCar to find out why they think car sharing can help create a greener future and tackle climate change…

An unintended consequence of lockdown in March was the dramatic improvements in air quality, with emissions on some of the capital’s busiest roads and junctions falling by over 50%. With lockdown measures in place, we saw less traffic on our roads, bluer skies – and were able to experience what a greener future could look like.

How can ZipCar help to persuade and encourage people to continue to behave in a more environmentally friendly way?  A greener recovery will require a change in how we view car travel. At ZipCar we know car sharing can have a positive impact on air quality by increasing the proportion of car journeys made in low emission vehicles and lowering miles driven, alongside the long-term benefit of embedding electric mobility in London’s transport mix.

London is already preparing to deliver long term improvements to air quality through changes to street spaces, cycling initiatives, and Ultra-Low Emission Zones. Retaining some of the patterns in working arrangements such as homeworking will also be a key factor in improving local air quality. Recent research conducted by the organisers of the UK’s Clean Air Day campaign, Global Action Plan found that remote working after the lockdown in the U.K. could cut two airports’ worth of emissions and eliminate 11.3 billion miles of commutes.

What incentives are available to help make the switch?

There are many incentives available aimed at encouraging owners to switch to lower polluting private vehicles, such as lower parking fees from local authorities for residents, and electric vehicle (EV) grants from central government. These grants offer up to £3,000 off a fully electric car costing under £50,000 or up to £8,000 off a fully electric van. Government grants of up to £350 can also help subsidise the cost of installing a charge point in your home if you have off-street parking, or at your office.

The benefits of joining a car club

After joining a car club, research shows that members drive less and use public transport, cycle and walk more – 23% of our Zipcar members cycle regularly as opposed to only 9% of Londoners and 62% of our members are regular users of the tube compared to only 37% of Londoners.

We also know that each car club vehicle we place in our fleet removes up to 13 private vehicles from our roads, with members telling us they sell their cars after joining Zipcar – contributing to improvements in congestion and air quality.

We all want a greener society. Greater adoption of car sharing can be a catalyst for change and contribute towards a green post-coronavirus recovery, uniting us all in our efforts to combat climate change ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year.

Who are ZipCar?

ZipCar are working in partnership with Go Ultra Low to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles either through ownership, leasing, or car sharing. Our vision is to enable simple and responsible urban living. Our EVs are already leading the charge across London plug-in electric vehicles have been part of our fleet since 2012, and our goal is to be fully electric by 2025, allowing 800,000 Londoners to embrace fully electric car-sharing and reap the benefits.