Previous Next

Start-ups that are revolutionising mobility


French people spend more on their cars every year. Purchase price, fuel, tolls and insurance account for roughly 15% of an auto owner’s budget 1. That’s quite a lot of money considering that a vehicle tends to be idle for 92% of its life 2. Is it possible to do better and spend less? Digital technology offers new possibilities, and some start-ups have already found the answers.

Free parking to encourage car sharing

A lot of people don’t like the idea of sharing their car when they’re not using it. That’s because the real joy is being able to use it when you want. With TravelCar this is no longer a problem. The company will rent out your car only when you’re sure you don’t need it, such as when you’re on a plane or in the train and your car is sitting in a car park. Thanks to TravelCar, you can reduce your parking bill while you’re away, or even park for free.

A win-win exchange

In exchange for saving on parking, you agree to rent your car to a private individual, who will pay 15% to 20% less than the traditional agency price. TravelCar has 500,000 users in 30 countries and 400 partner garages in airports and train stations. In France, the free parking service already exists at airports in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Beauvais, Nantes and Toulouse.

The start-up is expanding into foreign markets in Northern Europe, Latin America and Oceania and expects to broaden its footprint to 50 countries.

Making use of available city parking spaces

Nearly 30% of French people say they are often late due to parking hassles 3.

Yet, it’s estimated that one-third of all city centre parking spaces are vacant. During the day, apartment and hotel parking facilities are largely unused, and at night, company and shopping centre car parks are empty.

Zenpark monitors parking spot availability at all times of the day and night, kind of like an Airbnb service for parking. Thanks to agreements with lessors and other partners, Zenpark provides access to nearly 8,000 private or public car-park spaces in Paris and 150 other French cities.

How it works 

Book a space by the hour or sign up for a subscription, on the Zenpark website or the app. Then let your phone guide you to your spot. The service also lets you save money. “Prices are 25% to 50% lower than for other spaces,” says Zenpark CEO William Rozenfeld.

Too many apps

Start-ups have lots of ideas for making people’s lives easier. But it’s easy to get lost among all the different services.

Launched by the European auto manufacturer Groupe PSA, Free2Move has the goal of becoming the mother of all apps, supporting nearly 30 mobility services in 10 countries.

From car sharing and parking to bike, car and scooter sharing schemes, the main mobility solutions like TravelCar, Emov and Communauto are available via a single app and customer account. Free2Move also proposes services by other carmakers, like Daimler’s Car2Go and BMW’s Drive Now.

For Brigitte Courtehoux, Executive Vice President in charge of the Connected Services and New Mobility Solutions business unit, the Group’s ambition is clear: “to become a major player in international mobility services.”

Introduced just a little over a year ago, the Free2Move app already has 600,000 users in Europe and the United States, where roll-out is ongoing.

The transition from car ownership to mobility as a service is taking place before our very eyes, with start-ups leading the way.,8272

Share this article

There are no comments.

Add a comment

*Mandatory fields