13 July 2008

Copenhagen Car Sharing

It can't be a secret any longer that I prefer to ride my bicycle here in Copenhagen. Like 70% of the population in my neighbourhood, I don't own a car simply because I don't need one. Nevertheless, there are times when a car is handy.
Hertz Delebilen
Car sharing programmes are booming here and I finally signed up for one of the two main programmes available to Copenhageners - Hertz Car Share [Delebilen in Danish] - in order to get to a summer house in Sweden for a week. Glad I did. It is great.

The best thing about it is the Ease of Use. I booked a car online from 10:00 one day. The cars are equipped with a sender/reciever and the info that Mikael was coming was sent to the car. I made my way to the parking spot - there are many around the city in convenient locations - and found the Volvo V70 station wagon. A beautiful car. I have the choice of renting many different cars; compact, medium-sized, station wagons, a mini-van or even a transport van. I can rent them for one hour or one week or anything in between.

Upon arriving at the car, I pulled out my membership card and waved it at the metal panel on the dashboard, through the windscreen. Instantly, the doors unlock.

I hopped into the car and opened the glove compartment and pulled out a terminal welcoming me to the car. The keys are locked into the terminal. I punched in my PIN code and that releases the keys. Off I went. Easy as easy can be.

After a week in Sweden, I returned the car to the same parking spot. When I pulled out the terminal again, it knew that the car was 'home' and read, "Do you wish to end your rental period? Y/N."

I punched yes and stuck the keys back in. I was given a quick rundown of how long I had rented the car and the total kilometres travelled.

I got out and waved my membership card at the metal plate and the doors locked.

A great system, especially because of the technology involved. Once the car is reserved, other members can't open the door, because the car is saving itself for Mikael, so you'll never get there to find the car gone.

We pay a monthly subscription of 150 kroner [30 dollars] [normal price is 300 kroner [60 dollars], but we get a discount for various, boring reasons]. You pay for the period of rental and you pay for each kilometre travelled. The price includes petrol, which is great seeing as how the prices are currently higher than normal. A petrol credit card for Shell stations is included in the glove compartment for your convenience.

If we need a car for a couple of hours or a weekend, it can really pay off to use this programme. For a one hour rental of a small car I'll pay 22 kroner [4 dollars] plus the kilometre price of 2.85 kroner [ca. 57 cents]. Even renting the car for a week was far, far cheaper than renting a car in the normal fashion. Not to mention not having to go to a car rental office, filling out forms and all that.

We're hooked. We live on our bikes, but we have a car when we need one. Perfect.

- Hertz Delebil
- Københavns Delebil


Erik Sandblom said...

If you're going to Sweden, there are rental cars available at most large stations. You book them at Europcar's website.

I suspect you need to fill out forms at the station before you get the car though. It's not as swish as your carsharing experience. Something for the train companies to work on.

Taking the train as far as is practical is nice though. You don't have to be strapped into a seat for hours!

Bluefish said...

This is an amazing program. Where can I pick up the car and how do I become a member? Is it manual or automatic? I don't know how to drive a manual car, so it'll be a problem for me.

Denmark always has so many innovations.

2whls3spds said...

We have these in the US also, but not as wide spread.

My son used Zipcar while he was still in college. I was more than happy to pay for his membership fee, and help with the rental. It was more cost effective than having a car sit for weeks on end in an outlying parking lot.


Anonymous said...

"The price includes petrol, which is great seeing as how the prices are currently higher than normal."

Ha. Welcome to the new normal. It is least this high and probably a double-digit percentage rise per year for the foreseeable future.

burrito said...

We're lucky to have 2 car share programs in Vancouver BC but - interestingly - the price structure of both means they are cost effective only for going places that are already easily accessible by transit. If you want to get away it becomes so expensive that you're better off just renting (which is fine, but less convenient). I guess they're aiming for a different market here - urban dwellers who need to run to Ikea maybe.

Copenhagen Denmark said...

This is really a great idea, but I prefer to have my own car. Maybe this may change in the future. I will see.

jams crofte said...

Fantastic submit once again mate. I believe you’ve hit the nail about the head there. It does not ought to be challenging yet mose men and women fail to recognize the basics.
Share A Cab Ride

Kitty B said...

Hello! I am moving to Copenhagen from London next week. Unusually for Londoners, we cycle everywhere and don't own a car. I have been a member of a car club here in London and love it and was thrilled to read your post about the car share schemes in Copenhagen.

I don't (yet) speak Danish and so I don't understand the websites. Are the car share schemes like the clubs in London whereby you can hire a car by the hour, day, week? Where can I find more information in English?

All help gratefully received

Kitty B

Mikael said...

Kitty: Indeed, both of the main car share websites are in Danish with no English translation. Probably because it's for locals.

The programme I'm with is Hertz - www.delebilen.dk

Once here you can probably go down to the Hertz office right across the street from Vesterport train station and talk with them in English.

It's the same at the programme you describe. You can rent by the hour or longer.

It costs 300 kroner a month. Taking a car usually costs about 23 kroner per hour, including petrol, but not including km. You pay about 3 kroner per km.