Vancouver is an awesome city that’s blessed with multiple car sharing services at competitive prices. Want to drive across town quickly and meet friends for lunch? Jump in an Evo; you can park it where you like. Need to pick up some furniture from Craigslist? Jump in a Modo; book a range of vehicles by the hour. Super convenient! However, how much does this convenience cost? The rates seem to be good value, but how does it really add up? This article shares our experience and spells out the real picture for car sharing costs in Vancouver for 2019. Hint: it’s probably less than owning a car for most people!
How we use car sharing in Vancouver
We’re a couple who use car sharing services in conjunction with cycling and public transport, and enjoy not owning a car in Vancouver. We live within about 20-40 minutes cycle of our work locations, and our jobs don’t require the use vehicles. We use the car sharing services to run errands that are inconvenient to use the bus for (grocery shopping), enjoy outdoor hobbies (hiking and snowsports), and occasional road trips (around BC and into the US). We’ve used all car-sharing services in Vancouver, but are looking at Evo and Modo in particular in this article. We wanted to share our real car sharing costs in Vancouver for 2019, so others can see the services are good value, convenient, and high-quality.
Evo car sharing
Evo is a one-way car sharing service, so you can use it to drive around town and leave the car where you finish your trip. This lends itself to short-hops around town. However, it also has unlimited mileage, so it can be advantageous to use for longer distance trips too. Covers all Canadian bases! You can read more about Evo in our complete guide to car sharing in Vancouver or our article on Evo vs Car2Go.
On average we used Evo about twice a week, for journeys of around 4 km, lasting about 20 mins. We made a few much longer trips which boosts the totals shown in the table below, and skews the averages.
|QTY of trips||106|
The total cost in 2019 for Evo usage was about $3,900 CAD. This is probably a bit higher than it could be, as it does include some trips taken with friends where costs were shared. We could probably have got this figure nearer $3,000 CAD without too much work.
Modo car sharing
Modo is a two-way car sharing service which means that when you finish your trip, you have to drop the vehicle off where you picked it up. Modo also has a wide selection of vehicles and they can be driven into the US. This means it’s great for trips across the border, as well as trips needing specific vehicles around Vancouver and BC. You can read more about Modo in our complete guide to car sharing in Vancouver as well as our car sharing comparison table.
We used their vehicles for driving to Seattle and trips to Vancouver Island, as well as social events where we needed a car for 7 people. We drove around 1,200 km and made 8 trips.
|QTY of trips||8|
The total cost for Modo usage in 2019 was around $900. This doesn’t include the $750 share purchase, which is refunded when leaving Modo. This comprised $500 for the main membership and $250 for the associate membership. This means we can both drive the car during rentals. We also paid $50 to reduce our excess to $0 for any damage. You may have this cover on your credit card, so not need to pay it.
|Refundable share purchase||$750|
|TOTAL (exc. shares)||$913|
Total car sharing costs in Vancouver
Combining both Evo and Modo car sharing usage and costs, we travelled around 3,750 km and made 114 trips, totalling $4,800 CAD.
|QTY of trips||114|
But how does this compare to owning a car, from a pure $$$$ perspective?
Are car sharing costs lower than car ownership?
I estimate that you’ll be lucky to get annual car ownership costs below $4,000 – $5,000 CAD in Vancouver. I’ve drafted some usage scenarios in a table below. It assumes:
- Prius-like fuel consumption (i.e. low)
- 2019 average fuel costs for gasoline from an online resource
- General car ownership costs from the CAA car ownership costs calculator as well as anecdotes and personal experience
- I tried a bunch of cars but could not get total costs below about $5500. Admittedly they use 2010 as the oldest car year, and 10,000 km as the minimum mileage, but these are still reasonable base points. Anecdotally, speaking to friends who own slightly older cars, and having owned older cars myself, I know that depreciation and insurance can be lower on older cars. But not by that much!
You can see I estimate annual car ownership costs to be about $4,000 to $7,000 CAD. The costs of a medium ($5,100 CAD) and high ($6,900) scenarios are higher than the combined car-sharing services of Evo and Modo ($4,800 CAD). If you can find a cheap car that has low maintenance costs and insurance, you may be able to beat the cost of Evo and Modo combined. But this ignores all the non-dollar perks of car-sharing! Other points to note:
- You don’t have to personally manage the vehicle
- Forget about sorting the insurance, finding a reliable garage for maintenance, re-fueling, paying for parking! It’s all taken care of.
- The age and quality of cars you get to drive
- Cars are relatively new and well maintained. The suspension and brakes are trustworthy! They have the latest entertainment and navigation systems.
- Social benefits
- Taking older cars off the road, reducing quantity of cars in urban areas, increase the transition to hybrid and electric vehicles.
- Choice of vehicles
- You can pick the most suitable vehicle for your trip!
You will have a to make a few small compromises too though if you’re ditching your personal vehicle.
- Can be hard to obtain Evos in heavy demand periods
- Plan your journeys in advance to ensure you have suitable transport
- Can’t leave rubbish in the car 😉
Car sharing costs in Vancouver – the conclusion
We found that using Evo and Modo for all of 2019, we had car sharing costs in Vancouver of $4,800 CAD. Owning a car in Vancouver is probably going to cost you at least $4,000 a year, and probably more like $5,000+ for any car newer than 2010. So we probably saved money, and you can too!
There’s plenty of other benefits to using car sharing too that are harder to place a dollar value on. There’s very little stress and vehicle management, you can select new and high-quality vehicles, and you can pick a vehicle to suit your trip’s requirements. Also, you’re supporting a social and more efficient transportation system, likely reducing the quantity of vehicles on the road, and increasing the speed of vehicle turnover which will in turn reduce pollution. If you can make small compromises about planning your journeys, we’re very confident that car-sharing will be a big win for you and likely reduce your costs!
Save $$$ and sign up for Evo and Modo
You can avoid the sign-up fee and get some free driving minutes with my promo codes. I will get a small bonus of some driving minutes too if you chose to use these, but it’s at no cost to you. If you sign up through these, thanks a lot! I’m glad we could help you with your car sharing research.