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Ford launches GoDrive car sharing service in London

Ford will be making its London-based GoDrive car-sharing service available to the public, providing a service that offers flexible, practical and affordable access to a fleet of cars for one-way journeys, with easy parking throughout the city.

Initially known as ‘City Driving On-Demand’, the pilot project started as one of more than 25 experiments that form Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s initiative to use technology and innovation to investigate the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. With estimates that in the UK alone, the car-sharing sector will grow by 23% from 2013 to 2025, Ford is introducing the GoDrive scheme to target on-demand use and gain insight on emerging mobility trends and customers’ car-sharing habits.

The pilot experiment launched with 100 registered members accessing zero emission Focus Electric or fuel-efficient, low-emission Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost models from secure parking hubs near major public transport locations, such as railway and bus stations.

Ford is now inviting 2,000 people to register for a free expanded service, offering 50 cars across 20 locations. Intended to complement existing transport systems for integrated journeys, GoDrive is the only car-sharing service offering one-way trips with guaranteed parking. A pay-as-you-go approach, with pay-by-minute pricing, covers congestion charge fees, insurance and fuel, and drivers use a smartphone app to easily reserve and access a car. Drivers can familiarize themselves with the car during a five-minute grace period free of charge with running costs displayed via their app. Different weekend and day-hire pricing options, and further on- and off-street parking options will be investigated.

“As cities become more and more congested, people are becoming increasingly open to new means of mobility, and car sharing is proving to be an appealing model,” said Ken Washington, vice president at Ford’s research and advanced engineering division.

“A crucial part of delivering effective car-sharing services is to learn alongside these drivers what best meets their needs and expectations, and complements their location and existing transportation infrastructure.”

Alicia Agius, GoDrive project leader for Ford of Europe, added, “Our research tells us that car clubs currently are perceived as inflexible when it comes to booking, time slots and return locations. Features such as one-way journeys and pay-as-you-go extend the number of opportunities that drivers would want to car-share and could prove a game-changer. More drivers are finding GoDrive to be a key service that can potentially empower people living in the city with its flexible approach.”

Ford also is exploring car-sharing experiments in Germany, India and the USA that will help the company determine how to best serve global customers, as they face new mobility options in the future.

For a video showing the system in action click here

May 27, 2015

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