Montreal, March 24, 2022. Communauto, the largest carsharing service in Canada and the oldest in North America, is planning substantial growth in its vehicle fleet after an exceptional 30% increase in the number of members and overall usage of the service in 2021.
To meet this demand in 2022, Communauto has ordered 1,300 new vehicles from manufacturers to add to the service before summer, despite car industry supply issues which could last until 2023.
The largest increase in the fleet will be in Montreal, where 800 vehicles will be added (200 in stations and 600 for the FLEX service). In total, more than 3,000 vehicles will be available to Montrealers by the end of the summer.
“Communauto is responding to the significant growth in demand we saw in 2021 by planning a major increase to our service. This growing demand demonstrates the importance of carsharing as an urban mobility solution that is more sustainable and efficient than the personal car. It also opens the door to major challenges: first, the difficulty of the automotive industry to guarantee the number of cars ready to deliver and second, the significant delays between orders and deliveries. We experienced this in 2021 and we fear that it could also affect the supply this year, despite our efforts. One thing is certain, Communauto has the capacity and the commitment to guarantee the availability of our service and to meet the growing needs of citizens who wish to adopt carsharing, in combination with other public transit and active mobility options,” states Benoit Robert, president and founder of Communauto.
“The City of Montreal welcomes the expansion of the Communauto fleet with great enthusiasm. Our administration has done more for shared mobility than any other. From the start, we have resolutely positioned ourselves as an essential partner, always with a view to offering more mobility options to Montrealers, and to decongest the city. Driven by this desire, we have made several important regulatory changes to promote carsharing and self-service vehicles in recent years, and we intend to continue on this path, in collaboration with the boroughs, in order to allow an equitable distribution of the service throughout the city,” added Sophie Mauzerolle, member responsible for transportation and mobility on the executive committee of the City of Montreal.
In Quebec City, Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton and Paris
In Quebec City, there will be more than 300 cars available with the addition of approximately 45 cars, including 15 for the FLEX service (+25%).
Toronto will not be outdone, as the company is also planning a significant increase to its fleet, with 250 new vehicles (+60%). Similarly, 200 vehicles will go to Halifax, Ottawa, southwestern Ontario, Paris, Edmonton and Calgary, where the supply of reservation-based station vehicles continues to grow alongside the supply of FLEX cars.
In 2022, Communauto will expand to Hamilton, Ontario, where the FLEX service will soon be available. As a reminder, this service allows you to use Communauto vehicles on demand and without prior reservation. The FLEX service, introduced in 2013, has already won over the cities of Montreal, Quebec, Halifax, Edmonton, Toronto and Calgary.
More electric cars
As for electrification, Communauto has ordered 100 new electric cars, which would be additions and replacements for some of the 110 fully electric units currently in service. Unfortunately, less than half of this order, Niro EVs, has been fulfilled thus far by the manufacturers: a striking example of how vehicle shortages present a challenge to achieving growth objectives. The same applies to hybrid vehicles, available only in small quantities, requiring us to return to gasoline models.
More spacious cars
In 2022, Communauto is also continuing to diversify its fleet by adding more spacious cars to the station-based service in order to meet the needs of families and long-distance trips. For example, the Niro Hybrid model will be added to stations with the Kona and Tucson models. The latter will be available at a price surcharge of 10%. Corollas, which are already available by reservation in stations, will also be added to the FLEX service.
The recent spike in gasoline prices is likely to further boost demand for carsharing. “The best way to cope with the rising cost of gas is more cycling, walking and public transit – and supplementing with carsharing,” adds Benoit Robert.