Air quality fix requires clean innovative car sharing schemes

Speaking today at the IPPR conference on future transport, shared transport charity Carplus highlighted the potential of clean, green car club schemes to clean London’s dirty air

With air quality under the spotlight in London, Carplus today outlined the contribution car clubs are making to cleaning London’s air. Car club vehicles are a cost effective way for Londoners to access the cleanest vehicles. The entire fleet is T-charge compliant, and includes ultra-low emission electric and hybrid electric vehicles. The average age of a car club vehicle is less than a year old, and these new efficient vehicles emit less CO2 than the average car.


Car club members often give up their own cars when they join. In 2016 they gave up 31,000 private cars. Car use in London has fallen 25% over the past 10 years, as car clubs have grown over this time.

Currently 193,000 people in London drive car club cars and the car club fleet consists of just under 3,000 of the cleanest vehicles. New flexible car club schemes allow people to find nearby cars on their smartphone and book them by the minute, parking them in any bay within their operating area.

Speaking at theIPPR  Conference, Executive Director Alistair Kirkbride said:

“Car clubs can make a huge contribution to improving air quality. Not only are they cleaner, with low or no tailpipe emissions, but car club members drive less than average Londoners.

We need dramatic and concerted action to increase the numbers of car club members and the areas in which car club vehicles are available. Whether the measures are ‘pushes’ like the introduction of the T-charge, encouraging people to give up dirty diesels by offering mobility accounts as part of a scrappage scheme, or opening schemes in more boroughs, there needs to be dramatic and concerted action across the capital to realise the benefits car clubs can bring.

If we could get one million people to give up cars and drive car club vehicles instead we could see a huge improvement in air quality – and a reduction in congestion and the space our crowded capital gives to cars.”

Councillor Julian Bell, Chair, Transport and Environment Committee, London Councils added:

“I see car clubs as part of the solution in improving our air quality as well as liberating road space. As private car use in London falls year on year, it is important that the remaining vehicles are as clean as possible and used as efficiently as possible. Car clubs also help to make electric and other low emission vehicles available to people who may not be able to afford them otherwise. Not only does evidence suggest that car clubs replace at least 10 London cars with a single car club car, but significantly that car club car is low or zero emission.”

Carplus has been collating data on car club membership for 10 years. The organisation has documented the growth in car club membership and the number of cars removed from the roads. This ten year growth in car club use coincides with a 25% fall in Londoners’ overall usage of cars.


Air quality 2017 London Infographic 1

About car clubs

Car clubs are available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. After joining members can book them on line or through an app and pay for the amount of time they use them. ‘Round trip’ cars are found in fixed car club bays and must be returned to them, whereas flexible scheme vehicles are located via an app and can be parked in any parking bays within their operating area.

Air quality 2017 London Infographic 2

About the Carplus Annual Survey

The Carplus Annual Survey reports are the most comprehensive datasets collected across the car club sector on an annual basis for the past ten years. They provide a comprehensive, robust and impartial evidence base on which policy and funding priorities can be based.

This year’s report presents data and analysis on the usage and impacts of flexible and one-way car club operators in London as well as data from round-trip operators.

The Carplus Annual Survey for London is available online at

Car clubs in the UK

There are over 245,000 car club members with more than 4,000 vehicles in the UK.

Car club members walk, cycle and use public transport more than the national average.

Car clubs provide alternatives to car ownership, reducing the number of cars on the roads.

About Carplus and Bikeplus

Carplus Bikeplus is an independent environmental transport charity working for accessible shared mobility, including car clubs, bike sharing and 2+ car sharing.

*Travel in London 8, TfL 2016

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