Environmentally-friendly car-sharing service on the rise in Sweden and Denmark

Peer-to-peer car-sharing service SnappCar is a more environmentally-friendly alternative to car ownership that lets you rent a car with just a few taps in the app.

Environmentally-friendly car-sharing service on the rise in Sweden and Denmark
Photo by Patrik Storm on Unsplash

Car-sharing service SnappCar is taking off in Denmark and Sweden, allowing the carless to get around easily, cheaply and reliably and giving car owners an extra source of revenue from a vehicle that spends most of its time unused. Most easily described as ‘Airbnb for cars’, SnappCar is a pretty straightforward concept. Vehicle owners list their cars on the service at whatever price they think is reasonable and those in need of a temporary set of wheels simply open the app, see what’s available and then book it and arrange a pick-up. The whole process takes just a few taps in the app. It's as easy as streaming a film or ordering takeout.

Click here to rent a car in Sweden or here to rent a car in Denmark

The service, which has a 4.5 star rating on Trustpilot, is seen as an environmentally-friendly alternative to private car ownership and currently has nearly 50,000 available vehicles and around 400,000 renters. But SnappCar doesn’t present itself as always being the best option. In fact, it encourages those who just need to make a 20-minute ride across town to take a taxi or public transport instead and suggests that traditional car hire services are still the way to go for rentals of 10 days or longer.

Photo: Grégoire Demont

For people like Grégoire Demont, a Frenchman living in Stockholm, it’s that happy medium where SnappCar comes in. Demont doesn’t own a car but he does own a boat that he keeps moored at Bullandö Marina around 40 kilometres east of Stockholm. Reaching the boat from his home in Södermalm isn’t easy without a car, especially when he’s lugging around the things he’ll need out on the water. So he often uses SnappCar to rent a vehicle for a few hours or a full day. 

“I could get there by public transport but it takes well over an hour and departure times are a bit limited, so it’s not very convenient. Using SnappCar makes it really easy and allows me to come back basically whenever I want,” he says. 

Demont says the service is perfect for when he wants to take an impromptu boat ride. If the weekend rolls around and he feels the urge to get out on the water, he’ll often open the SnappCar app late on Friday evening and book a car for Saturday morning. 

Click here to rent a car in Sweden or here to rent a car in Denmark

“It’s very convenient. With a traditional car hire agency, you have to either book a few days in advance or be willing to pay very high prices for the types of last-minute bookings I do. With SnappCar, I usually contact a handful of car owners through the app and someone gets back to me with a solution within 15 minutes,” he says. 

Since moving to Sweden in 2017 for work, Demont estimates he’s used SnappCar around 20 times. Although most trips are to shuttle back and forth to his boat, he’s also used the service to check out his new surroundings, including a trip to Gotland in which he rented a car to drive on to the ferry and then explored the island on his own terms. 

Because the service is built upon a network of privately-owned vehicles, there is a wide variety of makes and models at different price points.  Demont says the type of car isn’t terribly important to him. What he’s looking for is flexibility and availability. He’s usually able to find an available car within a kilometer or so from his home and the pick-up procedure, which involves either meeting the owner to collect the keys or using keyless technology to access the car through the app, is always smooth and easy. The whole process is made more reassuring for both parties by knowing that the vehicle is covered by insurance, including 24/7 roadside support, during the rental period.

“Generally, the owner is there waiting for me. It’s usually a pretty brief meeting where we check out the condition of the car and how much petrol is in the tank, but there are a few owners that I’ve rented from on multiple occasions that I’ve built a little bit of a relationship with,” he says. 

Although Demont cites convenience as the biggest selling point, he also says he feels good about being a part of the sharing economy. 

“It’s about using the thing you need when you need it rather than owning it,” he says. “Right now, it doesn’t make sense for me to have a car that I’d just use once a month. But if I decide one day that I need a car more frequently, I might buy my own and if I do, I would definitely put it on SnappCar.”

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by SnappCar.


OPINION: ID-checks between Sweden and Denmark should not be brought back

Sweden's government on Tuesday announced plans to bring back ID checks on Sweden's borders. Niels Paarup-Petersen, a Malmö MP, has launched a campaign to stop them.

OPINION: ID-checks between Sweden and Denmark should not be brought back

Bringing in ID-checks is illegal, ineffective, and devastating for the labour market in the Öresund region. That the government, despite all this, is pushing ahead with them anyway is almost impossible to understand. 

Once again, the government’s first response to a crisis is to bring back the ID-checks that tear our region in two.

Once again, they’re doing this without giving either the regional government or those operating the transport services a chance to give their input.

Once again, the idea is that Skåne and the Öresund Region should pay the price for solving Sweden’s challenges.

Once again, commuters will have to wait for half an hour at Kastrup. Once again the transport system in Skåne will be wrecked. 

READ ALSO: Sweden to bring back border controls to control Ukraine arrivals

It’s bloody awful, to be frank.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that it is illegal to put the responsibility on transport operators across a Schengen border. The Office of the Chancellor of Justice has come to the same conclusions.

Ukrainians have the right to enter the country, which means that they will not be stopped by the ID controls. If you want to have a better understanding of who is crossing the border, there are still ‘temporary’ border controls in place after six years.

Making the transport operator responsible for ID controls work when applied to ferries and flights, where there is only one place where you can get on or off. When you have continuous traffic, such as with trains or cars, it has a devastating effect on the traffic and on all of the people using them.  

ID checks are completely illegal, unnecessary, and irrational.

Region Skåne, the municipalities in Skåne, and all of my colleagues from Skåne in the national parliament must now all put their feet down. 

ID checks on the Öresund Bridge should not be brought back! 

Niels Paarup-Petersen is an MP representing Malmö for the Centre Party. He was born and grew up in Denmark and has worked for the Öresund Bridge Consortium.