Free2Move began US operations with Washington DC as its first market in October of 2018. Since then, their car share has provided 3 million miles of shared vehicle use in 600 vehicles to 35K registered DC area users within all eight wards of Washington DC and Arlington VA.
Free2Move, a subsidiary of PSA Groupe, provides mobility solutions for those who do not own a vehicle. Free2Move is committing to stay in the DC area as other car-sharing services are shrinking or leaving the DC Market. Their service offers Chevrolet Cruze sedans, and Equinox SUV’s as free-floating share vehicles that registered members can reserve and rent for a one-way trip, by the hour or day, up to three days. Most vehicles average between 5 and 7 activations per day.
Learning how American consumers are changing their thoughts on mobility from an ownership to a purely usage-based model is laying the groundwork for the future of mobility platforms. According to Nickolas Hill COO of Free2 Move. The reason Washington DC was chosen as the US incubator, PSA’s first American venture outside of Europe. “Washington, DC, is a great place to understand the consumer response for mobility. The DC market is great but a tough one, if you can make the mobility equation work in DC, it can be scalable for other cities.” States Hill.
Free-floating car share is where a vehicle can be picked up from one point then driven to an ending point elsewhere within Free2Move’s home zone. That “home zone” is all eight wards of DC, and parts of Arlington VA. The registered user has the option to drive the car, then release it for another driver to reserve and take elsewhere. Then choose another vehicle for the next trip, or keep the car reserved, paying for the time it is parked and not in use. Free2Move offers flexible use options from minutes to hours, up to three days.
Free2Move’s pricing was just reduced and is based on time used or contracted for, and defaults to the lowest price. Starting at 45 cents per minute, $16.99 an hour, or $84.99 a day. Each rental includes residential and metered parking fees, vehicle registration fees, insurance for liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible and no loss of use, along with 500 miles per trip.
Free2Move has contracted with the District of Columbia government and Arlington County for the vehicles to be permitted to be parked in all eight wards and at parking meters found along city streets, except for those designated as handicapped, rush hour zones or other restricted parking areas.
A concern of residents has been the number of vehicles parked in any given area at one time, while some cars may be in use by a Free2Move member, as the service offers both on-demand usage as well as short and longer-term rentals to drivers of shared-ride programs like Via. The fleet is monitored continuously, and the company moves vehicles if they have not been in use for 24 hours. Residents who feel a Free2Move car is incorrectly parked in their neighborhood can reach out to the Mayor’s city-wide call center via 311 or Free2Move’s customer service toll-free number 844.543.7332.
Car Share services like Free2Move are disruptors to the traditional automobile ownership model, providing a vehicle on-demand as opposed to having a vehicle available at will sitting parked, unused for a majority of the time you own or lease it, most cars are used 5% of the time they are owned or leased. This along with automotive subscription services are new ways to approach how consumers will use automobiles and mobility in the future