9 Oct 18

Less than 1 in 25 Belgians practise carsharing

Just 3.8% of Belgians – less than 1 in 25 – practise carsharing. That’s the lowest score in Europe. One reason: Belgians really like their (own) cars. Eventually, autonomous driving will change attitudes, suggests ING.

It’s been 15 years since carsharing made its debut in Belgium – an anniversary that called for an evaluation. But according to a Car Sharing Report by ING, Belgians haven’t really warmed to carsharing, at least not to the same degree as other Europeans.

European average
Across Europe, there are about 373,000 shared vehicles, for a total number of 11.5 million users. Most of these vehicles (326,000 to be precise) are part of private sharing platforms. That’s 4.3 vehicles per 10,000 inhabitants. Belgium is also at this European average. 

Nevertheless, Belgium is one of the countries in Europe in which the vehicles per capita ratio keeps rising. Most recent figure: 503 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants (2016). Undoubtedly related is the fact that Belgians are the least prepared to share cars with others. Just 3.8% of Belgians use shared cars, versus 8.7% in France, for example.

High negatives
Carsharing suffers not just from low positives, but also from high negatives: 87% of Belgians say they’re not even considering using carsharing. Only 4.2% say they will think about carsharing – but only as an additional means of transportation. 

One of the main obstacles to the mainstreaming of carsharing in Belgium: the fact that Belgians really, really like their own cars: 43.5% of 55-to-64-year-olds is emotionally attached to their vehicle – a figure that rises to 74% for the 18- to 24-year-old age bracket.

Autonomous vehicles
One of the reasons for the impopularity of carsharing is the difficulty potential users expect when linking a fixed supply of vehicles to the daily fluctuation of demand.

The ING study suggests that the introduction of autonomous vehicles from around 2025 will reduce the demand for personally-owned vehicles, which (according to its projections) would allow the carsharing sector in Belgium to triple in size over the subsequent decade. 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs