When Henry Ford launched the Model T Ford, he created a car owning revolution. Now it’s time to reinvent the car as part of the new sharing economy. Co-Wheels, the community interest, sustainable car club launched on the Isle of Wight this week, and kickstarted a new era of affordable, clean, green, motoring, as we reinvent the idea and purpose of the car in the 21st Century for a super sustainable new world.
It’s time to reclaim the joy and romance of the road without the hassle of owning, taxing and maintaining a car full-time. Today, it’s all about the sharing economy and supporting local communities. Car clubs are starting to prove highly effective at reducing car ownership and in doing so, address all the things that make car ownership un-environmentally friendly and a hassle, including – pollution, congestion, lack of parking space, cost and transport poverty.
A Super Green Car Sharing Revolution
The Isle of Wight certainly needs a transport overhaul. A roundtrip on one of the island’s buses currently costs upwards of £7.00, per person, making it singularly un-affordable and in no way encouraging islanders, businesses or visitors to leave their cars behind. In contrast, a one hour car trip with Co-Wheels, costs from £4.50, making it very attractive to people who cannot afford car ownership, but need to make regular short trips on the island to avoid feeling cut off and isolated from friends and family or to make an essential visit to hospital.
The Co-Wheels Car Club launch has received backing from the Isle of Wight Council and funding from the Department of Transport, as the leaner council looks for specialist outside partnerships to help deliver on its promises to make the island more sustainable, reduce car emissions and offer more affordable transport options.
How Does Co-Wheels Car Club Work?
So how does the Car Club work? There is a one off joining free of £25.00. Once you become a member, you receive a smart card, which is all you need along with a driving license valid for the last twelve months to unlock a shiny new eco car to take you a friend’s wedding or dinner at The Taverners, an award-winning island pub which celebrates local food and foraging ingredients. Then you can access pay as you go driving and the latest, low emission small petrol cars and Toyota hybrids, which make up the car club fleet. You book online, and pay by the hour. You can hire a car for a little as half an hour or up to a week at a time, with reduced rates for overnight hire and low mileage rates.
Currently, Co-Wheels is the only independent, national car hire company in the UK and the company has recently been awarded investment from The Big Issue Invest and the Unite Social Invest funds. Membership is increasing by 50% each year, and the company operates both in rural areas and city locations, including Cumbria and the Isle of Wight and inner city areas, including London, Bristol, Reading and Glasgow, while new locations are being added as soon as funding is approved.
Is Car Sharing Set to Create an Eco Motoring Revolution?
So does car sharing really work? Talitha Burnett, a spokesperson for Co-Wheels, gave some fascinating examples of how the car sharing revolution is unfolding around the country. From an NHS trust using their local Co-Wheels car club for their staff and saving money and cutting down on emissions – to the liberating prospect of taking the train to the Isle of Wight for a family holiday, and picking up your car club hybrid the moment you step off the ferry. Suddenly, the entire island opens up, with the delight of exploring the island’s National Trust areas of outstanding natural beauty and leafy lanes, in a car with the lowest emissions of any car hire company operating in the UK today. Horray! Now that is an appealing prospect that is set to make the Isle of Wight, Queen Victoria’s favourite royal bolt hole, a super sustainable tourist hotspot now and into an emerald future of green and pleasant motoring.
To find out more or join Co-Wheels Car Club – http://www.co-wheels.org.uk/
Did You Know That?
Co-Wheels Car Club is a community interest and non-profit company. All profits are reinvested in the club.
75% of members change their driving habits when the join Co-Wheels, declaring they are less likely to buy a new car.
In Gateshead, the Co-Wheels electric cars are charged from solar panels installed on local buildings.
Co-Wheels car fleet has the lowest average C0 2 emissions of any multi-fuel car club operator in England and Wales.
As we go to press, Co-Wheels has had 2.4 million online bookings and is doubling its membership year on year. The company is now one of the fastest growing businesses in the social enterprise sector.
Join a car club is good for your health – as a result, you are more likely to walk instead of taking a car for short or non essential trips and use a car for days out and business trips.
Car Club and UK Universities – Car-Wheels promotes car sharing to students and offers free membership and driving credits to incentivise student to join – the aim is to instill a lifetime of sustainable travel habits.
Alison Jane Reid. Alison Jane is a former Times and and Lady Magazine feature writer and fashion director, and the founder of www-ethical-hedonist.com
An online, colour supplement style magazine focused on sustainable and organic lifestyle.
Brilliant Local, Green and Sustainable Places to Visit on the Isle of Wight
The Taverners Pub, Godshill – Head chef Roger Sergent has cooked his way around the globe, so expect a pan global menu and hyper local ingredients, in this cosy, authentic gourmet pub, where local food and foraged ingredients are the stars on the vibrant, tasty and inventive menu – Tel 01983 840707
Bonchurch – Step back in time to an age of elegance, and walk and potter around a village littered with grand seaside mansions and villas. In the Victorian age, it drew the literary and theatrical crowd and was home to Dickens, Shelly and Swinburne. Tip – check out the local artisan potter adjacent to the sleepy, sequestered bay for an elegant lamp or mug as a souvenir of your trip.
The Isle of Wight Zoo and Big Cat Sanctuary, Sandown – Go and hang out with some charismatic big cats rescued from circuses and even people’s gardens. For an experience your will never forget, book to bottle feed the tiger brother and sister goats milk and marvel as you get really up close and personal with these water loving animals. Back in the day, the founder of the zoo used to take his cats for a walk on the beach! http://www.isleofwightzoo.com/
The Crab Shack Steephill Cove – In the height of summer, head straight for the pretty cove at Steephill and bask in the sun while you watch the world go by and feast al fresco, on the sweetest, freshest local crab, lobster or mackerel salad, caught by the local fisherman and served by his wife Mandy. The homemade crab soup is not to be missed. Open seven days a week in high season, 12- 3pm, no bookings, just turn up.
The Tomato Stall – There is a wealth of local, organic and un-sprayed produce to make your stay on the Isle of Wight delicious, memorable and please even the most demanding gourmet. Seek out the local farm shops in Bembridge, Godshill and Ventnor. The island is famous for its speciality tomato growing – look out for the Tomato Stall produce, including rainbow coloured tomatoes and delicious juices.