A new car-sharing service for the owners of Melbourne apartments is aiming to drive electric vehicle adoption in Australia.
Residents in Melbourne's EQ Tower will be able to borrow a pair of Hyundai Kona Electrics hourly, or for an entire day. Although pricing hasn't been finalised, the starting rate will be $15 per hour, with no extra charge for distance covered.
Existing car-share services tend to cost between $8 and $14 per hour, with a per-kilometre cost between 30 and 40 cents. Insurance, charge and maintenance costs are all included in that fee, although residents are on the hook for tolls.
Having booked the cars through a smartphone app, residents collect, return and charge the cars in the building's underground garage. Ohmie plans to have the chargers powered by renewable energy within a month.
JET Charge, the company responsible for installing the chargers, says the car-sharing service is a novel way to show people what electric vehicles are like to drive.
Speaking with CarAdvice, the company said car-sharing contained within a single garage is a logical place to start with electric vehicles, because it doesn't force operators to install charge infrastructure on the street.
Existing car-share operators like GoGet have users leave cars in designated street spots. A team of employees is responsible for cleaning, maintaining and fuelling the fleet, which is constantly moving around the city – and is open to thousands, not just residents of one apartment block.
Like Ohmie, services like GoGet rely on a smartphone app for bookings and payment.
“The environmental benefits of existing car-sharing models in reducing the overall number of private vehicles on the road are already well established," said Kyle Bolto, Ohmie CEO. "If the car-sharing is electric, then that significantly contributes to reducing emissions, making a good thing even better."
Having launched with the EQ Tower, Ohmie says it's talking to developers across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne about expanding its reach, and plans to have 'tens' of sites by the end of 2019.