New Zealand car-share startup Mevo has launched Australasia's first trial of free-floating car sharing, taking place in the city of Wellington.
The introduction of free-floating means that Wellingtonians can now drive a Mevo Audi e-tron on one way trips around the city and are not required to return the vehicle back to its original parking spot.
In addition to Mevo's 10 designated parking/charging areas throughout Wellington city, Mevo vehicles can now be dropped at any approved Wellington City Council parking space in Mevo's ‘Home Zone'.
“This trial is a first for carsharing in Australasia and it's a testament to Wellington's progressive thinking that we have been able to make free-floating happen here first,” says Mevo co-founder and CEO Erik Zydervelt.
"The ease of use that free-floating provides is a game changer if you're looking at serious alternatives to private car ownership, giving Wellington residents freedom and mobility through an app on their smartphones, without the hassle of owning and paying for a car.
The launch is made possible through a collaboration between Mevo and the Wellington City Council, with the view that this successful test will inform free-floating carsharing policy in years to come.
Mevo worked with its international technology affiliate and the Wellington City Council to develop a cost-neutral solution for using Council park spaces.
Mayor Justin Lester says carsharing services are a natural progression for Wellington city.
“With more and more people living in the CBD, and the trend away from car ownership, car sharing initiatives are increasingly important,” says Lester.
Mevo's fleet of plug-in Audi e-trons can be picked up and dropped off at any Wellington City Council park within the ‘Home Zone', indicated on the Mevo app.
Every Mevo vehicle includes an indicator to let users know when they're inside the Home Zone.
Members can also choose to drop them at the Mevo charging stations across the city - found in the Mevo app - where they will be guaranteed a park.
Mevo was awarded co-funding from round one of the Government's Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by EECA.
“Mevo's initiative demonstrates the kind of business innovation we need to move towards to a low carbon environment. This scheme also provides Wellingtonians with an easy and convenient way to experience EVs for themselves,” says EECA chief executive Andrew Caseley.
Carsharing has been proven as a possible solution for congestion in cities internationally.
For every carsharing vehicle on the road, 5 to 15 private vehicles are taken off of it.