As the crusher hovers over petrol and diesel cars, everyone is wondering what our towns, cities and motorways will look like by 2040 when the government ban comes into force. Cars will likely be driverless and electric, but will personal ownership continue or could innovative planning lead to more inclusive and integrated communities with cars as a use-as-you-go public service?
Jeremy Clarkson may be sobbing into his steering wheel, but it turns out a growing number of millennials are already thinking this way and are just not that interested in saving for a vehicle.
The shift toward a sharing economy is happening at a time of growing concern about climate change and carbon emissions
The shift toward a sharing economy is also happening at a time of growing concern about climate change and unsustainable carbon emissions. As the planet-warming, health-damaging impacts of car exhaust pollutants become clearer, some believe there must be more efficient ways to use automobiles.
Electric cars promise to be one part of the solution, cutting out exhaust emissions altogether. Carpooling – recently given a hip injection by James Corden’s hit Carpool Karaoke – is another. And car clubs offer the same promise. If more people were able to reliably hire a car from a shared fleet only when they needed it, fewer people would need to own a vehicle at all.
Green Revolutions is a social business at the forefront of these changes in Birmingham. It runs the local franchise for the Co-wheels network of car clubs across the UK and also campaigns on sustainability issues. Set up in 2013, Green Revolutions now has more than 100 members signed up to sharing a fleet of 12 low-emission cars.
The members use a smart card to access an available car at one of the eight sites in the city on a pay-as-you-go basis, with money deducted digitally from their account (it’s £4.50 an hour). Green Revolutions director Sandra Green says it has made car use affordable to families on low incomes – some of whom don’t necessarily have great public transport options.