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The number of registered carsharing users exceeds 2 million

At the beginning of 2018, more than 2 million people in Germany used carsharing. Growth rates for station-based carsharing recovered compared to last year, while slowing down for free-floating services. Carsharing is now offered in 677 cities and municipalities in Germany – 80 more than in 2017. The proportion of electric mobility in carsharing fleets is 100 times higher, than on the overall national level.

The number of registered carsharing users in Germany has exceeded 2 million. As of January 1st, 2018, a total of 2,110,000 people were registered at one or more of the country’s 165 carsharing operators. Gunnar Nehrke, the new CEO of the German Carsharing Association bcs, says:

“Compared to the total number of driver licences holders, carsharing remains a small market. But growth rates show that we are leaving the niche. Carsharing is the only direct alternative to private car ownership. Considering its continued growth, carsharing contributes significantly to a “Verkehrswende” (transformation of mobility) in Germany.”

Station-based operators signed 80,000 new customers, putting the total at 535,000 registered users. Following a slump in 2017, the segment has clearly recovered. With a plus of 17.6 percent, growth rates are back at the level of previous years.

Free-floating carsharing now count 1,575,000 registered users - 315,000 more than in 2017. The growth rate of 25 percent is still significant, but has slowed down compared to previous years.

Station-based carsharing operators provide the most carsharing vehicles in Germany

Overall, carsharing operators in Germany provide 17,950 cars for their customers.

Germany’s station-based operators have a total of 10,050 vehicles in their fleets, based at a total of 5,000 stations. Free-floating operators count a total of 7,900 vehicles – mainly in areas with a high population density. The two biggest free-floating operators are active in a total of seven cities.

Station-based offer brought 650 new cars to the market (+6.9%), while the free-floating services added 100 vehicles (+1.3%). That is also due to the dynamic expansion sprawl of station-based offers.

580 of the 7,900 free-floating vehicles are provided by operators that initially offered station-based carsharing and later added free-floating cars to their fleet. These types of “combined carsharing” can e.g. be found in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main area, in Mannheim, Heidelberg, Hanover, Osnabruck, Essen, and Kiel.

The development in different market segments reflects different usage patters

The free-floating market segment grew substantially in terms of the number of registered customers, even though the number of vehicles grew only slightly. That leads to an increase in the average number of users per vehicle - from 173 to 215 customers.

The same figure grew only slightly in the station-based segment, from 48 customers in 2017, to now 53 customers per carsharing vehicle. This difference in the number of customers per vehicle clearly reflects the different usage patterns of station-based and free-floating carsharing offers.

With 10 percent, the share of electric vehicles in carsharing fleets is 100 times higher than in the national fleet

10.3 percent of carsharing vehicles in German carsharing fleets are battery electric vehicles (BEV) or plug-in hybrids (HEV). The percentage of electric cars in carsharing fleets is thus much higher than in the national fleet of private cars and company fleets. Nationwide, only 0.1 percent of all cars were electric at the begining of 2017 (new figures from the German Federal Transport Authority are expected in March 2018).

Considering the current debate about air pollution in inner cities, carsharing operators are willing to further invest in electric mobility. Gunnar Nehrke outlines the necessary framework for this:

“The profitability of electric cars in carsharing fleets must be ensured and government funding programmes must be adapted to better include station-based carsharing providers. Then the number of electric cars can be expected to grow further.”

Carsharing is offered in 677 German cities and municipalities – 80 more than in the previous year

A total of 677 cities and municipalities in Germany count at least one carsharing scheme. That are 80 more than at the beginning of 2017. Theoretically, some 39.8 million people in Germany have access to carsharing offers from one or more operators. In all of these places, there is at least one station-based offer. Standalone free-floating operators can be found in 12 German cities.

In general, it is easier to win new carsharing users in larger cities. That is also where the majority of customers are registered and most cars are made available. However, carsharing is not limited to big cities. Station-based carsharing can be found in:

  • 64 cities with 50,000-100,000 inhabitants
  • 202 cities and municipalities with 20,000-50,000 inhabitants
  • 336 municipalities with less than 20 inhabitants.


PDF: Press release "The number of registered carsharing users exceeds 2 million" from 02.26.2018

Note: For the annual carsharing statistics, the bcs collects data from all known carsharing services in Germany, whether they are bcs members or not. Since some customers are registered with two or more providers, double counts may occur. Reference day is January 1st, 2018.

About the bcs: The German Carsharing Association (bcs) was founded in 1998. The bcs aims to position carsharing as a modern mobility service in cooperation with local public transport. Its goal is the reduction of private car ownership and individual transport, thus contributing to climate protection. The bcs represents the political interests of German carsharing providers on a regional and national level. 139 carsharing providers are currently members of bcs.