The complete guide to car sharing in Vancouver

Car sharing in Vancouver 1

If you’re living in Vancouver, you’ve probably seen cars from car sharing companies Car2Go, Evo, Zipcar, and Modo. These operators offer a modern and convenient twist on classic car rental. Over 3000 such vehicles can be found in Vancouver. If you want to try one out, where should you start?  Well read this complete guide to car sharing in Vancouver! Updated June 2019. 


A brief overview of car sharing in Vancouver

Modern car sharing is like traditional car rental, but much more convenient. The vehicles are booked via smartphone, located conveniently throughout local neighbourhoods, and available for one-way trips lasting minutes to days.

This on-demand service complements public transport and is a stepping stone towards greener transportation. It is estimated that car sharing removes around 10 private cars for every 1 car share vehicle. This means less pollution, less congestion and more efficient parking.

The credit union VanCity found that there are more car sharing vehicles in Vancouver than other major cities in the U.S. and Canada! This is partly because of Vancouver’s high population density, absence of ride hailing services, supportive government, and growing avoidance of vehicle ownership.

If you want to know more about why car sharing in Vancouver is a good thing, then check out our article on the benefits of car sharing.


Jump to:


Who are the companies car sharing in Vancouver?

Car2Go Vancouver car share Large and renown international operator pushing the industry. Car2Go were founded in 2008 in Germany, and claim to be the fastest growing car-sharing operation in the world. They have 3,000,000+ members and a fleet of 14,000 vehicles in 25 international locations. In Vancouver they have approximately 1,275 vehicles. They’re the only company to offer a significant quantity of electric vehicles too (but not in Vancouver).
BCAA Evo car share vancouver New local child-company of BCAA, with cars designed for the BC lifestyle. BCAA Evo are a recent invention (2015) of BCAA. They describe themselves as, “Car sharing built for British Columbians… our Toyota Prius Hybrids provides affordable travel with a lighter environmental footprint and all the space you need to enjoy the best of BC”. They’re the new kids on the block, with a local vibe, and around 1,500 cars equipped specifically for the BC lifestyle and region.  
Zipcar car share vancouver Reputable U.S. company deploying vehicles widely but thinly. Zipcar have North American origins, coming out of Massachusetts at the dawn of the millennium in 2000. They passed 1,000,000 members in 2016, and operate a fleet of around 12,000 vehicles across 10 countries. In Vancouver, Zipcar have about 200 vehicles. Zipcar have one of the longest histories in the industry, and serve 1100 locations, though this is at a lower density than the other companies.
Modo car share vancouver Homegrown BC co-op, with a wide-range and plenty of vehicles. Modo is another local BC company, founded in 1997 as the Co-operative Auto Network. It joined forces in 2014 with the Victoria Car Share company, and with Okanagan Car Share Co-op in 2018. This expanded their service to around 600 vehicles across a wider geography for the 20,000 members. The company is a co-operative and states, “Our intent is to earn just enough to cover our costs and continue to invest in being the best and most purposeful car share operator in BC”.

A key distinction between Vancouver’s car sharing companies

The companies offering car sharing in Vancouver may appear similar, but fall into two camps. They are  either one-way or two-way providers. Evo and Car2Go are one-way providers, whereas Zipcar and Modo are two-way providers. One-way means you make a single journey and don’t have to return the vehicle to where you picked it up. Two-way means you must make a return journey and leave the car where you begun your trip.

If you’re just interested in the one-way providers, Car2Go and Evo, you may want to check out our Evo vs Car2Go showdown review instead.


Car sharing in Vancouver


Which areas do the companies service?

Check out the maps below showing each operator’s coverage (Mar 2019) for car sharing in Vancouver. The thumbnail shows you a small overview of the ‘Home Zone’ for Car2Go and Evo, and vehicle locations for Zipcar and Modo. Click on each of the images to see a large image showing more detail, including vehicle locations outside of the Vancouver area.

Car2Go mapEvo mapZipcar mapModo map

Evo and Car2Go

For the one-way providers Evo vs Car2Go, Evo wins on geographical coverage as it has a larger home zone AND more satellite areas outside of the primary home zone. This means you should be able to find cars across a larger area. Also Evo has more parking spaces in more areas, so you could drive over to an area like Grouse mountain. Both Evo and Car2Go have car sharing in North Vancouver.

Zipcar and Modo

For the two-way providers Zipcar vs Modo, the maps show you that Modo has more vehicle locations across Vancouver. Modo also has car sharing in North Vancouver, as well as on Vancouver Island too including Victoria and Nanaimo. That said, although Zipcar has fewer local vehicles and zones, Zipcar’s membership can be used in other parts of Canada as well as internationally (note Seattle on the map).


Where can I use the car and how far can I go?

Car2Go cars from Vancouver can be used up to 300km outside of the Car2Go Home Zone. They must stay in Canada and be returned to the Home Zone. If you pay by the minute, you have 200km per trip. If you go over that limit you’ll pay $0.45 per km. Other packages have different restrictions. You can park a Car2Go car most places that you would park your own private car in Vancouver. This includes 2hr parking, permit parking, resident block parking, or Car2Go marked spaces.  Don’t use metered parking, 1 hr zones, or commercial parking lots. You can drop off at the airport, but there’s a $7.50 charge.

Evo cars can be used anywhere in Canada. They must be returned to the Evo Home Zone at the end of the trip. The trip includes unlimited km! Parking for Evo is similar to Car2Go – you can park most places, with some easy-to-remember exceptions. Evo has another big bonus – you can leave it with the valet at the airport for free!

Zipcar bookings have a default allowance of 200km per day. If you go over that you’re liable for a charge of around $0.30 per additional km. With Zipcar you can cross the border between Canada and the U.S. which is super helpful for longer trips. As it’s a two-way service, you’re going to need to bring the car back to where you picked it up.

Modo bookings cost $0.40 per km for the first 25km and $0.28/km, so be aware of this for longer bookings. Like Zipcar, Modo also allows you to cross the Canada and U.S. border, so you’re covered for ventures southwards. As it’s a two-way service, you’re going to need to bring the car back to where you picked it up.

200km per trip, different for package deal, up to 300km from Home Zone, Canada only, $7.50 charge to drop at airport.Unlimited km per trip, anywhere in Canada, free to drop at airport.200km per day then $0.30 per km, can cross border.No kms included, $0.40 per km for first 25km and $0.28/km after 25km, can cross border.

Who can register?

To try out car sharing in Vancouver you will need to register in advance of your first trip. The process is quite easy. Register online via the website(s), pay the appropriate fees, provide a copy of your licence for review, and download the app for your phone. Expect this to take a few working days.

Eligibility requirements

The companies have similar eligibility requirements, though there are some key differences. Obviously you need a valid driving licence, and to meet the criteria below:

  • Car2Go: 18 years old, with a “reasonable” amount of driving experience. “New” drivers aren’t allowed, and violations/points are judged case by case.
  • Evo: 18 years old, with 2 years experience (includes learners), and no more than 2 traffic violations or 6 points in the last 2 years.
  • Zipcar: at least 21 years, or at least 18 for college membership. It will review licences on a case by case basis for violations and points.
  • Modo:at least 16, have 0 at-fault accidents or suspensions, and no more than 2 violations/suspensions, in the past 2 years. If you’re a learner and under 19 years old, you can joint linked to another Modo member in the same household.
18 years, "reasonable" experience, no learners, violations/points reviewed case by case.18 years, 2 years experience, accepts learners, no more than 2 violations or 6 points in last 2 years.18-21 years depending on college status, will review driving record.16 years, 2 years history, learners accepted conditionally, 0 at-fault accidents no more than 2 violations in past 2 years.

How do I make a booking, or cancel?

All companies can take bookings via their smart phone applications, websites, or phone. Once you’re an accepted member, you can browse the vehicle stock and select the most convenient vehicle for you.

Vancouver car share comparison

The smartphone app

I am not going to dwell on how to use the app, because all the apps are very well designed and easy to use. If you can’t manage the app, then you shouldn’t be driving a car.

Booking on demand

Both Car2Go and Evo operate on demand. You reserve a car nearby, and then have 30 minutes to pick it up. Or simply walk up to a car on the street and check if it’s available. You may sometimes struggle to find a car close-by at typically busy traffic times (rush hour, school run etc.).

For per-minute bookings, I recommend saving money by giving the car an external inspection before unlocking it. Then you can unlock it, check the interior too, and report any issues.

We really liked it that Evo cars have a button on the dashboard which you press to call the support team and report damage or check something. This saves a few minutes using the app or reporting things that you didn’t perhaps need to.

Classic reservations

Zipcar and Modo have a traditional reservation service. You book the car and specify a start and finish time. This can be done well in advance, so you can lock down and guarantee a vehicle booking. Best to do so early if you need a specific vehicle (e.g. van for moving day)!

Modo allows you to book an ‘open return’, which means you can return the vehicle when you want, instead of at a pre-determined time. For a relatively small charge of $3 you can gain flexibility on your finish time.

Cancellation

If you need to cancel your reservation, it’s free for both Car2Go and Evo. Though Car2Go won’t let you book the same car again for the next 2 hours.

Zipcar has 2 policies for avoiding cancellation without charge. For a reservation of more than 8 hours you must give 24 hours notice. For a reservation of less than 8 hours you can give 3 hours notice. Otherwise you’ll pay 100% of your booking.

Modo has no charge if you cancel with 12 hours notice. Inside of 12 hours, you’ll pay 50% of your booking. If you don’t pick-up the vehicle up, you’ll pay 100% of your booking. Bonus points for Modo – if you finish your booking early, Modo refunds 50% of your remaining time!

Booking via app, up to 30 mins to pick up car. No charge for cancellation.Booking via app or website, up to 30 mins to pick up car. No charge for cancellation.Reserve via app / website. Free cancellation with 3 / 24 hours notice, depending on reservation length. Reserve via app / website. Free cancellation with 12 hours notice. 50% charge inside 12 hours. Refund unused time at 50%. $3 fee for open return.

What vehicles are used for car sharing in Vancouver?

evo car share promo code

Car2Go operates a small range of vehicles. You may only recognise the Smart ForTwo car, but they also have some Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA cars that ooze with class. Think airport transfers for your parents-in-law. So you’ve got options between the small and nimble two seater for urban dashes, or the suave cruiser for more room and to leave an impression. Neither vehicle comes equipped with accessories like roof racks.

BCAA Evo car share promo code

BCAA Evo operates a single model in their fleet – the distinctive Toyota Prius C Hybrid. It’s equipped a with a roof rack that can handle two bikes and some skis or snowboards. We like that it’s a hybrid, which means low tailpipe emissions. The vehicle can hold 5 people, with space in the boot/trunk for a few cases. We’ve done an Ikea run in one, and there was plenty of room with the seats down.

Zipcar car share Vancouver promo code

Zipcar boasts an impressive selection of vehicles, with 4 wheels to cover every eventuality. You can pick from cargo vans, minivans, SUVs, sedans, trucks, hatchbacks, and even a few fully electric cars. Zipcar have a couple of electric Nissan Leafs floating around Vancouver too! However, if you want something specific, be prepared to walk a bit further to pick up and drop off, as it’s unlikely to be very close to you.

Modo vancouver car shareModo also has a wide array of vehicles to choose from, as well as plentiful stock in many locations across Vancouver. This reduces the chance of you having to walk far to pick it up, or missing out if you book your vehicle later than recommended. Modo classifies its vehicles as ‘Daily Drives’, ‘Large and Loadable’, and ‘Oversized and Premium’. This makes it fast to find a suitable vehicle for your purposes!


How much does it cost?

Market competition makes it good value

Car sharing in Vancouver is growing. BCAA Evo has the largest fleet, even though they’ve only been around since 2015. All of the companies are competing hard to gain popularity and increase their membership. Consequently, they’re pricing aggressively to lure customers. This has resulted in a fairly level playing field and great value for users.

Avoid ownership costs of private vehicles

Car sharing in general is a relatively cheap way of accessing a vehicle when you need one, especially if you would infrequently use a vehicle. You save on costs such as servicing, maintenance, depreciation, parking, insurance, and fuel. That’s right, with car sharing you don’t have to pay for fuel! 

Best value by travelling with friends

The best value can be obtained from car sharing by traveling with a buddy or three. You’ve got the fixed cost of the vehicle hire, which is independent of how many people are in it! Often it makes financial sense to grab 1 joint car share rather than 3 bus tickets.

Discount promo codes and free minutes

Don’t focus on ‘sign-up’ costs, as you can get free sign-up and free minutes, by using a referral or discount code. I would appreciate you using my evo car share promo code and my Car2Go promo code for Vancouver, so you can get free minutes for Car2Go and BCAA Evo:

Full disclosure –  these are referral links and will give me a few $ credit too. If you do choose to sign up with these codes, I will massively appreciate it and consider it a token of thanks for authoring this guide to car sharing in Vancouver.

Should I book per minute, hour or day? One-way services.

The one-way operators Car2Go and Evo have similarities in their operations and charges. They charge a small fee for sign-up, and then you pay per minute, hour, day, or package deal.

Car2Go and Evo both charge you a $1 fee per trip, for the first 200 trips in a year. For Car2Go this also reduces your insurance deductible to $500 for the first 90 trips in a year, after which the insurance deductible goes to $0. For Evo it’s $1 access fee, no other perks attached!

Car2Go has a choice of package deals to offer the best possible value for 2 seat cars. If you go over your package allowance, Car2Go make you pay by the minute. For example, if you booked a 1 hour plan, and use it for 1 hr and 10 minutes, you’ll pay for those 10 minutes on a per minute basis. Evo will charge you the most economic rate, so you’ll get the cheapest possible rate. Evo don’t offer package deals.

You’ll pay a bit more for Car2Go’s Mercedes vehicles compared to their Smart FourTwo vehicles. Car2Go is currently running a special offer so it’s per minute rate is cheaper than Evo. Normally Car2Go’s standard per minute rate is the same as Evo’s per minute rate. If you’re a BCAA member, you also get a 10% discount with BCAA Evo cars.

Should I book per hour, or day? Two-way services.

Zipcar has many options regarding membership, and the price changes accordingly. If you sign up through a college or institution you can get a reduction in the sign up fee, as well as the rates. Zipcar also offers set monthly packages that include a fixed minimum amount of hours, which is great if you plan on driving regularly.

Modo is a co-op which means it operates for the benefit of its membership and not external shareholders or bosses. It offers individual and business memberships, as well as ‘Modo Plus’ and ‘Monthly’ plans. You can buy a $500 refundable share purchase, and get access to the lowest rates. Instead you can pay a monthly fee and access slightly higher rates. It’s worth noting that the rates offered with the share purchase option are the best across Vancouver. Like the one-way operators, Modo also charges an ‘access fee’ of $1.50 per trip, which they call a ‘co-op innovation fee’.

What’s the deal with insurance, deductibles, excess?

All vehicles for all companies are fully insured to the legal requirements of BC and other territories in which they may operate. As long as you stick to the user’s T&Cs you’ll be fully covered with no worries.

If you’re unlucky enough to get into an accident, the excess or deductible for each company is $1,000. Car2Go let you reduce that to $500 by charging an additional $1 for each trip. Evo don’t currently have an option to reduce the excess. Zipcar have a waiver option of $9 per month or $79 per year. Modo can reduce the excess to $0 in most cases with a $50 annual payment.

Another solution, is to check if your credit card has care hire or car share excess insurance. That way you don’t have to pay the excess reduction fee to the car company, and know you’re covered in event of an accident. Note though that this credit card cover often doesn’t cover trucks or vans! Always check with the T&Cs on your credit card agreement, and contact them if you’re not sure.

Sign up fee$5$30$25$10 / $500
Annual fee$2$2$0 - $70$1
Monthly fee--$0 / $7 / $50 - $250$0 / $6
Access fee per trip -$1 (first 200 trips / yr)-$1.50
Driver protection fee $1 (first 200 trips / yr)---
Per min rate$0.32 - $0.45 $0.41--
Per hour rate$13 - $17$15$8 +$4 - $8
Per day rate$69 - $99$90$76 +$52 - $65
3 hour rate$35 - $45---
6 hour rate$49 - $69---
2 day rate$129 - $179---
Large vehicle premium--varies by vehicle$2/hr, $26/day
Oversize vehicle premium--varies by vehicle$5/hr, $65/day
Trips over 8 hrs$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50
Exceed booking timeCharges by the minuteAuto charges the lowest price packageUndisclosed 'late fee'$30 late fee
Exceed trip km limit$0.45/km
(200km)
Unlimited km per trip$0.30/km (200km/day)$0.40/km for first 25km, $0.28/km after first 25km. (0km included)

Please note that values are generally plus taxes.

There are additional costs that we’re not going to review, such as key replacement, excessive cleaning, smoking etc. Just remember that all the companies charge similarly for these rare and unfortunate events. So best to try and be conscientious and avoid!


Best car share vancouver


What did I love about each operator?

Car2Go feels efficient in Vancouver. You can use a 2 or 4 seater car as you need. They are easy to park and feel safe. Also, I like Car2Go as a company that are pushing boundaries. They’ve have introduced exclusively electric fleets in other cities, and have EVs in cities like Montreal.

BCAA Evo is well designed and executed. The cars are stylish, accessible, functional and hybrid. Evo strikes me as the strong all rounder. It is convenient for carrying some furniture, moving your friends around, or moving bikes around. I’ve found the customer support to be responsive, and easy to access through the vehicle’s onboard systems.

Zipcar feel like a reliable friend. It’s nice to know they’re there, just in case. The cars have been clean and performed well, but they don’t stand out in Vancouver specifically. I’ve also had slow responses when trying to get support on the phone, but this is regionally dependent.

I love Modo for its co-op status and long presence in the marketplace. Modo covers BC urban areas with short-term hire vehicles, and it’s easy to find the right vehicle for the job. I was really impressed with the rates on offer, especially if you can find the cash for the share purchase option. They’re very competitive for long duration short km journeys around town.


Which is the best car share company in Vancouver?  

Well… the truth is there is no single best car sharing company in Vancouver! Each does a few things best. They all offer easy access at relatively low cost, compared to other means of transport in given situations.

My personal recommendations for car sharing in Vancouver are:

Car2Go Vancouver car share

BCAA Evo car share vancouver

It isn’t Evo vs Car2Go, it’s Evo AND Car2Go! I recommend signing up to both. They’re perfect for errands around town that need a car. Both car sharing companies are super convenient, easy to use, and good value. Especially when there’s 2 or more in your group.

There are no monthly recurring fees and the sign up costs are zero when using my discount codes, as well as giving you extra free driving credit.

  • Car2Go promo code- ‘JOINC2GVAN_luke@brightaroundthecorner.com’,
    get to Car2Go here.
  • Evo promo code – ‘C000137778’, get to EVO here.

Signing up to both gives you access to twice the quantity of vehicles (2300). That means double the chance that a car is near you and available when you need it. You can also pick and choose from a larger range of vehicles to suit your needs.

If you want to read more about Evo and Car2Go, check out in-depth review of them both in Evo vs Car2Go.

Zipcar car share vancouver  If you need a car for a few hours, multiple times a year, in Vancouver as well as other towns and cities, then Zipcar is probably the best choice for you. Zipcar have low hourly fees which can offset the sign-up and annual fees. Although they have fewer vehicles in a given area, the number of places they service is huge. Your Zipcar membership can access them all! For semi-regular and hourly users they offer great value, as well as special packages for offering a fixed amount of monthly hours.

  • Zipcar promo code – ‘https://refer.zipcar.com/s/luke34’,
    get to Zipcar here.
Modo car share vancouver

If you need to rent a vehicle on an hourly or daily basis, multiple times a year, across urban areas in BC, then Modo is the car share choice for you. As there are more Modo cars than Zipcar, you’re likely closer to a Modo for pick-up. If you can also manage their refundable share purchase membership, they offer unbeatable value in the Vancouver car share space. Modo is a co-op that is achieving great things in the BC area. They’re tough to beat if you’re happy to make short trips in and around BC.


This information was correct at the time of publishing. Please check all the Vancouver car sharing companies websites for their exact and current service offers. 

And if you can’t book a car when you need, get back on the bus. Vancouver’s public transport system is great. 

Let us know your opinions and questions in the comments section below.

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6 Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for the info, we are shifting to Vancouver soon and are keen to do the Car Share thing rather than own.
    Can’t wait to try them out.
    Wayne, Jill and Oscar.

    1. Hi all! They’re great services in the urban setting. It’s worth doing the maths on the financial and personal effort cost of owning versus car sharing here. Good luck with your move, I’m sure you’ll love Vancouver.

  2. Thank you guys for your extensive report … so much appreciated as well as promo codes … I used them of course … thank you <3 🙂

  3. Thank you for gathering and analyzing this information! Great service. My concern is regarding insurance. When I owned a car I never bought simply the minimum insurance. IMO if I had a serious accident (which hopefully will never happen), the minimums would likely not be sufficient. Is there a way to purchase excess insurance?

    Again, thank you so much for your valuable information!

    1. Hi Colleen. I haven’t investigated additional insurance to cover the excess for car-sharing vehicles. I have purchased this type of insurance for holiday rental vehicles though, and suspect that this type of insurance would also cover car-sharing services. You may be able to be an annual policy which would cover the excess for all your trips. I suggest searching for excess insurance for rental cars, and contacting the companies to find out if they cover car-sharing vehicles too.

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