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You can’t actually drive it and it doesn’t actually move, but its heart is definitely in the right place. The car-sharing network Zipcar UK has partnered with London floral creator, Alice McCabe, to create a ‘Living Car’ to highlight growing pollution concerns.

The installation is created from a cedarwood frame, and features a daisy-covered steering wheel and moss and ivy trails tyres. The car door will even open up into a living herb garden.

Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc.

On this week’s Mobility Moments we talk to Zipcar’s UK General Manager, James Taylor, about the Living Car initiative and post-pandemic vehicle sharing.

How did you get into mobility?

I’ve worked in car sharing for over 5 years. What first attracted me to the sector was the ability to make an impact – helping to make our cities cleaner and greener, encouraging people to give up their private vehicles and share instead.

That passion to drive change whilst providing a great service for our members continues to this day.

How is Zipcar investing in clean/electric mobility?

Zipcar is heavily investing in electric mobility through expanding our electric vehicle fleet, establishing easy and affordable access to EVs to all of our members. Currently 10% of our fleet – 325 cars – are electric, and we will be adding even more EVs throughout 2021 and 2022 as we work towards our mission of becoming fully electric by 2025.

Zipcar Uk Living Car, London, 19th May 2021

How has Zipcar recovered from the impact of the pandemic?

Zipcar has been deemed an essential service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While we remained fully operational during each lockdown, we advised all our members to follow the UK government’s latest advice and only travel for essential journeys. During the first and second lockdown we saw a decrease in reservations, which showed that our members were adhering to the government’s guidelines.

Moreover, during each lockdown, we reminded members we were available – due to being deemed an essential service – but asked members to only use Zipcar for essential trips.

Zipcar has proven to be a safe, reliable mode of essential transport during the pandemic, and as a result, we’ve seen a large increase in sign-ups to join Zipcar, with over 116 thousand new members since the first lockdown. As restrictions eased between lockdowns, we’ve also seen an increase in bookings as members were keen to explore their cities and the UK once more.

Describe the Living Car project and its aims.

We partnered with London-based floral artist, Alice McCabe, to create a life-sized ‘Living Car’ made entirely from over 500 plants, herbs and flowers to encourage Brits to make greener transport options post-lockdown.

We parked the ‘Living Car’ in Spitalfields Market to show Brits that by reducing car ownership and embracing car sharing, we can achieve sustainable urban living and make more room for green spaces to thrive in our cities.

The installation comes as 9 in 10 drivers want to see more green spaces in their cities and towns, and 92% are concerned about pollution levels caused by traffic.

Zipcar Uk Living Car, London, 19th May 2021

How can the likes of Zipcar help cities/countries achieve zero emissions?

For every one Zipcar, 13 privately owned vehicles are taken off the road, reducing traffic and pollution in urban areas. After joining a car club, members drive less and use public transport, cycle and walk more – 23% of our members cycle regularly as opposed to only 9% of Londoners and 62% of our members are regular users of the tube compared to only 37% of Londoners.

Additionally, 77% of members have told us they’re adopting Zipcar to reduce their carbon footprint, showcasing the trend away from car ownership and towards car sharing. This is

one of many simple changes that help make our cities more sustainable, and the ambition behind our Living Car is to inspire people to consider what change they can make to contribute to this greener future.

Describe the electric van sharing scheme in the UK?

The EV shared van scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, is the result of a joint collaboration between Lambeth Council, Brixton BID, Zipcar for Business and Cross River Partnership’s Clean Air Villages Programme.

The 100% electric Renault EV Kangoo Maxi ZE van is stationed on Pulross Road in Brixton, and once signed up and approved for the scheme, businesses can book the van using the free Zipcar app, and access and drive it free of charge for short business trips in and around Lambeth.

The partnership was initially due to run for one year, but following the huge success of the scheme, Zipcar and the Council chose to extend the vehicle in location.

What will urban mobility look like by 2030?

We see shared mobility becoming increasingly popular by 2030. With increased population sizes and a deeper understanding of climate change, there will be less privately-owned petrol cars and car ownership will become less and less attractive for Brits.

By 2030 our entire fleet will have been electric for five years.

We plan to put 9,000 shared electric vehicles on the road in London, removing the need for 12,000 privately owned cars. This means 821 million fewer miles driven and 160,000 tonnes of CO2 saved thanks to the switch away from privately owned cars to shared EVs.

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