When the company carsharing Car2Go He landed in Madrid at the end of 2015, Gianni Martino (Milan, Italy, 1962) had been leading the brand's southern European division for two years, from the German manufacturer Daimler. He continues to run the region, with Madrid as one of the favorite cities for the company. A month ago, it expanded its area of influence and its fleet, making it fully electric, until it reached 850 vehicles.
Has 2018 been a good year for the brand?
It has been very good We have broken all the records of previous years. In Europe, in general, the figures have been positive, and in Madrid, the response of users and the city to the expansion of the fleet and the area has been fabulous. We are happy.
Spain grew 21% last year. Car2Go, however, like the other companies in carsharing, still does not give benefits.
We do not make economic data public, but we can say that we are above expectations. And Madrid in particular is much better than we had planned. Even with the emergence of new operators.
The big cities have a problem with mobility, and in Spain the taxi-VTC conflict is hotter than ever. Because the carsharing has not entered into this war?
You can believe that the service carsharing It's a taxi competition, but it's really the opposite. We work in the same sector and our ultimate goal is that citizens do not have their own car, because it is expensive, it costs to maintain it, it spends most of the time parked … In that sense, the better the public transport system works. More advantages city gives us, since the user has more capacity and alternatives to reach a carpool. It is harder to convince someone that they do not need a vehicle on property if they do not have real alternatives. Therefore, the better the taxi or subway goes, the better Car2Go works.
Cities such as Madrid and Barcelona are putting limits on bicycles and roller skates. Can this regulation affect the car?
Cities have to set rules for all mobility operators, otherwise this becomes a wild jungle. The bikesharing or the scooters are showing that the more rules are put in place, the better the service works, and helping citizens not to trip over them when they walk on the sidewalk. Madrid or Barcelona, setting limits, are doing something very good. Mobility, especially with this development that is living, needs a regulation that does not compromise the safety, cleanliness and order of the city.
Car2Go and other operators, however, have advantages such as being able to park for free in green areas. Nor do they have to pay any tax or levy to dispose of public roads. Is there a favorable treatment?
No, we entered the cities precisely because that regulation existed with electric cars and we became attached to it. We have no advantage, we just behave like the rest of electric vehicles. And we do not ask for it either. We do not demand, for example, to be able to use the lanes for taxis or buses. We stick to what there is, and we have given the city a huge opportunity with a large investment.
Also to obtain benefits.
Yes, but when you invent a new model you have to leave time for it to develop. If a city wants this to expand it has to give the operators favorable conditions for a long time so that the model becomes sustainable. If as a city you start asking for money from an intense business from a financial point of view, it does not work. If you want to develop it you have to help the operators. They do not put us public chargers, okay. They do not finance us, of course. But they do not charge us for being either.
In Madrid there are Car2Go, Zity, Emov, Wible … Is there a place for everyone?
Yes, because we will see an increase in demand and utilization, and because Madrid is a very big city and we lack very promising areas. For our part there are areas with very commercial and business characteristics, in which the service would be very grateful for corporate clients. For example, Alcobendas or Las Rozas. And we will arrive. We do not have a plan for when, but it's only a matter of time.
Madrid is a very big city and we lack very promising areas
What other plans do you have for Spain?
Spain, under the experience of Madrid, is a very receptive country towards new forms of mobility. Spaniards love this service and it is a matter of time and local regulation of the parking or restricted areas. Each city has its regulations and its law, so you have to go little by little. We are interested in all cities of a relevant size. Then enter factors of a macroeconomic nature such as the presence of students, companies, airports, distances, climate … There are many factors that interest us. Rain, for example, benefits a lot in the carsharing.
They say that there is no single model and that each city has its characteristics. Does Madrid now have an advantage over others?
In the absence of a single model, Madrid, with several years of service carsharing, yes it has a situation of advantage in front of other Spanish cities. Beyond that, Madrid represents a lot for us. Not only because of the number of users and rentals, but also because it is different from the other cities in the operating model. It is one of the four European all-electric, and it is the only one that does not have a public charging infrastructure. In the other cities we plug the cars down the street thanks to a public structure. Here is a completely different model that we call Madrid model. It is something that does not happen in any other city in the world. In addition, users have always been very receptive. We have only seen this level of hospitality in Milan and Madrid.