Electric carsharing in Prague experiences a surge in demand

A growing number of people are opting for clean and safe individual transport due to the pandemic.

Marcus Bradshaw

Written by Marcus Bradshaw Published on 22.04.2021 15:34:00 (updated on 23.04.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

The popularity of carsharing has been gaining momentum in the Czech Republic, and has now received a further boost due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Carsharing operators are reporting that increasing numbers of people are abandoning crowded trams and buses in favor of cars, which many believe to offer a “safer” form of personal mobility.

GreenGo, a carsharing startup from Hungary has more than quadrupled its fleet of electric cars in the last twelve months. They entered the Czech market with just 40 cars in the fleet and the latest expansion has seen the service expand to 230 vehicles.

“We entered the Czech market last February, just two weeks before the outbreak of the pandemic, so we did not experience normal life,” says Šimon Čapek, director of GreenGo Czech Republic. “Nevertheless, we are growing and new customers are increasing every day.” 

GreenGo car carshare
Personal mobility is just one reason carsharing has seen an uptick in interest during the Covid pandemic.

He says that safer personal mobility isn’t the only reason Praguers are opting to share cars and adds that carsharing makes sense for foreigners, especially given that car ownership comes with more than its fair share of costs and administrative headaches (insurance, parking and tax) – all of which can be further complicated by residency status.

“If you’re a foreigner living in the Czech Republic and you wish to use a car, you may encounter a number of obstacles,” explains Čapek. “The first is legislative in nature: without permanent residence in the Czech Republic, you cannot arrange third-party car insurance, which is a legal requirement to use a car on Czech Roads. You may also be surprised by the requirement to report a car acquired abroad on your tax return!”

“Also, without permanent residence, it’s very difficult to park in Prague, because a system of parking zones is in place throughout the city, which favours permanent residents over visitors,” says Čapek. “When you need a car, you can use a taxi, Uber or Bolt, but in all cases, you will also pay for the driver’s time.”

GreenGo car carshare
GreenGo car sharing service is the first electric vehicle fleet to launch in the Czech Republic.

There are currently four major players on the Prague carsharing scene: GreenGo, Car4Way, HoppyGo, and AnytimeCar. GreenGo differentiates itself from its competitors by offering an exclusively electric fleet. “I think we owe the cleaner air in the streets of Prague, among other things, to our fleet,” says Čapek. “GreenGo’s users range in age from 19 to 66 and they include nationals from fifteen different countries. Our typical customer is young at heart, ecologically and economically minded.” 

GreenGo’s service is both convenient and easy-to-use – everything is done through an app on the smartphone. There’s no paperwork required; users just need a driving licence, ID and a payment card to register and use the service. Once registered, new users can be driving around the city in an electric VW e-Up within the hour.

GreenGo car share
GreenGo electric cars can be used within the entire city of Prague and the surrounding area.

Unlike traditional rentals which take place on a day-by-day basis, require that cars be picked up and dropped off at rental branches, and often include surcharges for fuel and insurance, GreenGo rental fees are all-inclusive and take place on a per-minute basis. Both rental and handover takes through the smartphone app and the pick-up and return takes place anywhere in a large service zone, not in a specific rental branch.

GreenGos cars can be located and reserved on the map in the app, which also shows the available battery charge left in each vehicle. GreenGo cars can be used within the entire city of Prague and the surrounding area, and can be returned to any point within the service zone.

GreenGo car share
Model cases and scientific studies show that car sharing is one of the key behavioral changes necessary to reduce traffic congestion and reduce air emissions.

Car sharing definitely has a place in our modern cities, for it is a much more efficient use of resources than private car ownership. “Model cases and scientific studies show that car sharing is the not only a way to use cars at minimal cost”, says Čapek, “but one of the key behavioural changes necessary to reduce traffic congestion and reduce air emissions.”

One GreenGo car serves multiple people, and is used again and again throughout the day, as opposed to many private cars that sit parked for hours or even days on end, clogging up street space. The entire GreenGo fleet is electric, which means that they are clean and quiet – perfect for city driving – and as they are electric, they can be parked anywhere free of charge. 

GreenGo car carshare
GreenGo cars can be parked anywhere in Prague free of charge.

Free from the worries of parking, insurance, fuel, servicing or cleaning, users pay only for the time that they actually, with rates starting at 6kč per minute. Licences from 130 countries are accepted, and users must hold a driver’s licence for at least a year to use the service.

This article was written in cooperation with GreenGo. Read more about our sponsored content policy here.

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