EVs and Car Clubs

The availability and use of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug in hybrids has increased significantly over the past three years. The Government forecasts that by 2020 plug-in vehicles will make up around 12% of the vehicles sold in the UK. This expansion will be due in part to advances in vehicle and battery technology and also as a response to the expansion of charging infrastructure across London and the rest of the UK.


In London car club fleets are at least 20% cleaner than the average private car. Even if car club members do not reduce their overall car usage, they can reduce their carbon emissions by switching to a cleaner vehicle than their own. Carplus research has documented the contribution car clubs make to reducing harmful emissions.

Carplus believes that the most effective way of establishing widespread use of battery EVs is through shared use (car-sharing/car clubs) and in employers car pools. This will encourage the allocation of the appropriate vehicle for the trip rather than assuming individual ownership of a multi-purpose vehicle.

Whilst electric vehicles (EVs) can help to reduce vehicle emissions (at point of use), Carplus believes that there are still significant technological and operational issues that limit the use of EVs in car clubs. As they become more familiar to the market their cost effective use (e.g. for repetitive short trips and selected sub-regional journeys) will become clearer. There is now some operational experience of EVs with noted improvements in battery technology, reductions in both purchasing price and the cost of service & maintenance.

The issues of purchase or leasing cost, ease of use and convenience need to be tackled before pure EVs will become a financially viable proposition for car club operators. Available to our members our guidance on EVs and their shared and pooled usage, summarises our recommendations on this topic.

Carplus believes that encouraging the use of EVs in the closed environment of Car Clubs can help to popularise cost effective use in high utilisation applications. Wider access to EVs may also influence the next generation of owners who might purchase EVs in the future.

Car Club Programme England


Car club projects in Scotland


Car club projects in London


Car club projects in Wales


Shared Electric Bike Programme


Electric & hybrid vehicles




Previous Carplus projects