With Connect by Hertz, car rental company Hertz takes on Zipcar directly in the consumer car sharing market. Enterprise launched WeCar earlier this year, but seemingly has a more business-to-business focus.
Zipcar coined the term car sharing. Is there really a difference between car sharing and car rental?
Zipcar’s CEO Scott Griffith seems to think so. He mentions that Hertz is a car rental company, whereas Zipcar has been in the car sharing market for 8 years.
Mr. Griffith is absolutely right. The dynamics of the market are very much different. The magic of Zipcar is instant access, and that takes technology infrastructure and the time it takes to perfect such a system. Rent by the hour is worthless if it takes 30 minutes (or even 10 minutes) to process your order.
However, the object of the broad terms of sharing and rental are exactly the same. Transfer ownership into enjoyment. Eliminate waste and excessive consumption in the process, exactly why Zipcar was started in the first place.
Where “rental” really morphs into “sharing” is when you can realistically replace ownership. The friction of a rental also has to be removed. More instant enjoyment of services only when you need it, less headache to do so. That’s where the real power, and honestly the real potential, lies.
I’ll be checking out much more of Zipcar and other green, sustainable sharing services and will be blogging further about the experience.