jump to search

Financial Health

New Models of Mobility

We are investing significant research and development dollars in new models of transportation, and helping to advance thinking about it. We are doing this through partnerships and pilot projects at several global locations. Some of these projects have focused on exploring how to deploy electric vehicles as part of integrated mobility solutions aimed at creating “clean, green, smart and safe” cities (see figure below). We believe that creative collaboration and innovative technologies and services can yield new solutions, and that these solutions can harness the benefits of mobility while reducing its environmental and social impacts.

Our dedicated research lab in California’s Silicon Valley is part of our commitment to make technology affordable for millions. The Ford lab, which opened in 2012, serves as a hub for independent technology projects and the identification of new research investments with partners located along the U.S. West Coast. The lab helps to ensure that Ford keeps pace with consumer trends and aggressively prepares for the future by developing mobility solutions to harness technology.

Shared models of car ownership will also be increasingly important, especially in urban areas, where a peer-to-peer system of shared vehicles offers promising solutions. Electrification can enable more economical, more efficient and more environmentally friendly options. In addition, younger generations of consumers seem to have different relationships to cars that make them better suited to new models of mobility.

We have been involved in several carsharing research projects that are designed to develop new models and methodologies for systems that integrate vehicle sharing and public transportation systems.

Diagram showing new models of mobility

An Innovative Approach to Car Sharing in Germany

Many people around the world want the benefits of personal mobility but don’t necessarily want to own a car. Carsharing offers an approach that can provide those benefits while reducing congestion and the environmental impacts of the private automobile.

According to a Ford Motor Company-sponsored poll,1 more than half of Europeans – 56 percent – would consider car sharing, either through a formal program or through private arrangements. Drivers increasingly see carsharing programs as viable options, especially in dense urban areas where parking can be problematic and where public transportation fails to meet all mobility needs. Ready and affordable access to a pool of available vehicles can provide on-demand transportation flexibility.

A widely cited 2010 study from the University of California at Berkeley2 estimated that one carshare vehicle replaces anywhere from nine to 13 vehicles on the road. That includes four to six direct replacements; the rest are avoided purchases.3

In 2013, we announced a collaboration between Ford of Germany and our dealer network. Ford Carsharing is a joint effort between Ford Motor Company and Flinkster, the largest carsharing network in Germany. Owned by Deutsche Bahn, Flinkster provides technology support for Ford Carsharing, including the Web- and smartphone-based booking system for carshare participants and for the German Ford dealer association. The day-to-day business is run by the local Ford dealers.

As of March 2014, 32 dealers in 42 cities were participating, offering 95 vehicles to customers through the Ford Carsharing program. Because the carsharing program is integrated into the larger Flinkster mobility platform, Flinkster’s 250,000 customers can access the Ford Carsharing vehicles while Ford Carsharing customers can access the 3,000 vehicles in the Flinkster fleet. Within the first year, we had 2,000 bookings with customers who drove more than 115,000 kilometers combined on Ford Carsharing vehicles.

Ford Carsharing taps into a potential customer base by offering a chance to experience Ford vehicles.

As a company, we are committed to a collaborative and integrated approach to future mobility. Ford Carsharing is one step in exploring what that future might look like.

  1. Survey carried out by The Futures Company between July and August 2012; 6,028 people were questioned across six European countries – Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.
  2. E. Martin, S. Shaheen, J. Lidicker, “The Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Holdings: Results from a North American Shared-Use Vehicle Survey.” Transportation Research Record, 2010.
  3. The range of estimates on car sharing varies widely, and experience to date may not scale up proportionally if car sharing becomes more widespread.