Car-sharing drives home savings and convenience for Kiwis this Christmas

New Zealanders keen to save extra cash to fill up the Christmas stockings or after a set of wheels to get from A to B during the festive season may find the solution lies within an innovative peer-to-peer car-sharing community.

Yourdrive founder Freemans Bay resident Oscar Ellison is focused on making car rental experiences personable, convenient and accessible to everyone.

“What we’ve found is that a lot of people are moving away from car ownership as they live in more dense areas, have better access to public transport or don’t want the ongoing costs that come with owning their own vehicles. They enjoy having the freedom to select a car they’d like to drive and renting directly from locals, whenever they need a car. Whether it be a day trip, a Christmas shopping excursion, or a summer holiday getaway, there is a growing shift towards car sharing globally,” says Ellison.

“With the holiday season just around the corner, New Zealand car owners have a convenient way to make money off their vehicles when they aren’t using them – they can turn an idle ride into an earning asset.”

Using the online platform, people can search for vehicles located in areas they are travelling to, or rent from locals in their neighbourhood. They then meet at an agreed location to hand over the keys, which often also leads to the exchange of local knowledge and journey tips.

While car sharing is practical, and provides a sense of community, the advantages don’t stop there – it can be a lucrative side-earner. Depending on the value, make and model of a vehicle (which determines the recommended rental rate), an owner could earn up to $10,000 a year by renting out their car through Yourdrive.

The rewards are already starting to be seen on a large scale – collectively, over $500,000 has been made by car owners that have rented out their cars through Yourdrive since the website first launched two years ago.

For renters, the savings is also significant. They don’t have to foot the bills associated with vehicle ownership; purchasing a car, registration, WOF, servicing, maintenance and fuel costs. People can rent cars they dream of owning – whether it be by the hour, day, week or longer for summer road trips – or simply stick to wheels on a budget to get around town.

“Whatever their budget and desires, people will find the right car for their needs within the community,” says Ellison. “We’re finding many millennials who enjoy an urban lifestyle without owning a car still have the freedom of renting a car for a day excursion to the beach or countryside or to visit friends and family.”

Car-sharing also has numerous environmental benefits - for every car shared, there is a reduction in the number of owned vehicles on the road – by around 10-15. With latest figures from the NZ Transport Agency showing that there are 800 new vehicles each week registered in Auckland alone, renting cars that are already registered could assist in easing congestion on the roads.

“This not only helps provide a solution to our country’s traffic problems, but it’s also kinder on the environment - helping to reduce greenhouse gases produced during the manufacturing of new vehicles,” says Ellison.

The concept for Yourdrive was borne out of Ellison’s frustrations with the high cost of car ownership after he returned to Auckland from his O.E. The young entrepreneur launched Yourdrive in 2015 and it quickly caught the attention of transport company JUCY, which bought a 50 percent share in Yourdrive last year and now offers car sharing as an alternative transport option to its rental car fleet.

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world*, and cars often sit unused in garages and driveways around the country, so this provides a win-win solution.”

Today, Yourdrive has more than 450 cars live on its platform and on an average day, 40 cars are shared via the platform. During peak times of the year, more than 250 cars booked through Yourdrive are on the road at any one time, while owners have peace of mind knowing their cars are covered by comprehensive insurance while in use.

Before joining, each driver is screened to ensure they have a valid driver licence, and a five-star review system works both ways for renters and car owners.

“There’s been a huge shift from traditional business models to peer-to-peer business models in recent years,” says Ellison.

“We’ve seen the rise and success of Bookabach and Airbnb, and now Yourdrive is helping keep people in New Zealand mobile. It’s about generating new streams of revenue for car owners while giving drivers more freedom to get around our beautiful country.”

*Over 3.6 million light vehicles were registered in 2016 (Ministry of Transport ‘Annual Fleet Statistics’).

Yourdrive Founder Oscar Ellison is focused on making car rental experiences personable, convenient and accessible to everyone through his car-sharing community.