In January 2016, Belgium counted around 14,000 car-sharers. A year later, that figure has doubled to 28,000 users. The number of shared cars, meanwhile, has more than doubled, from 1,200 units previous January to 3.000 now – a 150% increase.
"The sharing economy is growing in popularity. Millennials especially want to use a car without the burden of ownership", Jeffrey Matthjis of Autodelen.net, a website dedicated to car-sharing in Belgium, told public broadcaster VRT.
The trend owes much to a mentality shift – not just of the public, but also of government and manufacturers. On that fertile soil, the number of car-sharing platforms is growing. Cambio, pictured, is a big name in Belgium, but smaller, local initiatives are popping up everywhere – Ghent is experimenting with EV-only car-sharing, for example.
Another is peer-to-peer car-sharing, via a web platform, but that may have resulted in an overly optimistic success report:
"Such platforms are basically Airbnbs for car-sharing. There is a very low entry bar, which could help expand car-sharing from an urban to a rural phenomenon as well. But it also means that only a relatively small part of those who are registered are actively engaging in car-sharing".
Even discounting such platforms, car-sharing in Belgium still increased 35% year-on-year.
Image: public domain