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= P2P Carsharing service


we’re eBay meets Zipcar. We make it safe and convenient for normal people to rent out their cars to their neighbors. [1]



"For the borrower, the rental process is similar to Zipcar's, the world's largest car-sharing service, which made $175 million in its initial public offering last month. But RelayRides doesn't own its fleet, enabling it to avoid some of the high operating costs that other car-sharing companies can experience.

RelayRides does oversee the fleet, though. While car owners are responsible for maintaining the vehicles they share, RelayRides inspects the cars and equips them with GPS/starter override devices. Borrowers hold a membership card up to a sensor on the device to open the door and unlock the ignition. The keys are in the glove box. Car owners also pay for all gasoline. Borrowers use a gas card stored inside the vehicle to fuel up when the tank falls below a quarter full. The cost of the gasoline is deducted from the money the owner makes.


"If you look at traditional car-sharing models where they own their own fleet, they have to have very high utilization to make the numbers work," said Howard Hartenbaum, an investor with venture capital firm August Capital in Menlo Park, Calif. "For RelayRides, you can have some cars at low utilization and some cars at high utilization, and providing you've got the right people in the right places, it can still work for everyone." (


"Serving as a sort of community-run Zipcar, RelayRides bills itself as the first person-to-person car-sharing marketplace. Launching soon in the Baltimore area, the site allows people with cars to earn money by renting them out to people who don’t have cars of their own. Car owners begin by registering with RelayRides, which then arranges for a certified mechanic to install a device in the car that will allow authorized renters to access it without having to be given keys. It also establishes an insurance policy to cover renters during the rental period. Next, owners set the car’s rental price, along with where the car will be rented and when it is usually available. Renters can then reserve the vehicle by the hour or day within the owner-set schedule. RelayRides screens the driving record of every renter; it also promises to take care of owners in the event of any loss. A renter rating system, meanwhile, lets owners provide their own evaluations. With suggested hourly rates of between USD 6 and USD 12—covering 20 miles per reserved hour or 160 miles per day along with gas and insurance—owners can earn as much as USD 8,000 per year by renting out their cars for just 20 hours a week, RelayRides says.

Every shared car replaces 14 to 18 vehicles on the road, RelayRides says, so the benefits are obvious not just for renters and owners (a.k.a. sellsumers), but also for the planet, which gets a much-needed break. RelayRides is already planning to expand to other U.S. cities following its Baltimore launch—one to get in on early in your neck of the resource-sharing woods…?" (


"Shelby Clark hasn't owned a car since he moved to San Francisco for a new job, relying instead on his bicycle, public transit and a Zipcar membership for access to a fleet of hourly rental cars.

When he was accepted to Harvard Business School, Clark decided to continue his car-free lifestyle in Cambridge, Mass. But he hadn't planned for the East Coast winter--and a 2 1/2-mile bike ride in the snow to reach the nearest available Zipcar.

While pedaling to a Zipcar one day in December 2008, he came to a realization.

"I was passing all these cars parked along the road, and I wanted to just get off my bike and get one. They looked like they hadn't been used in weeks," said Clark, now 28. "It was like, 'Why can't I?' That was sort of the light-bulb moment."

That moment inspired RelayRides, a peer-to-peer car sharing service. Through RelayRides, vehicle owners and borrowers are linked to each other over the Web, enabling neighbors to borrow cars from each other. Clark believes the arrangement could cause consumers to delay new-vehicle purchases and even limit the number of gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups on the road.

"A lot of families buy a giant SUV for the one time a month they need to carry around six kids and a dog, when 95 percent of the time they would be fine with a Prius," Clark said. "It makes sense economically, it makes sense environmentally and it makes sense for the family." (


"Clark launched the RelayRides pilot program in Boston in June 2010 and gained $5.1 million in investments from Google Ventures, August Capital and others by year end. In January, Clark added operations in San Francisco and moved the company's headquarters there.

RelayRides has 2,000 borrowers and 100 owners enrolled between the two cities. Available vehicles range from the Honda Accord and Toyota Prius to the Porsche Cayenne and Mini Cooper." (

More Information

  1. Carsharing
  2. Daniel Noble on DriveMyCar P2P Carsharing