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​There are many new businesses popping up to facilitate car sharing. Some (e.g. Wheelz, RelayRides, Getaround) are designed to allow existing car owners to rent their own vehicles when they would otherwise be sitting idle.

Some OEMs are also involved in supplying what is effectively a new form of rental fleet. Mercedes-Benz has Car2Go; BMW has DriveNow; VW recently launched Quicar; Ford partnered with Zipcar on university campuses.

It seems like the start of a new business model that has the potential to change the nature of vehicle ownership. And all the above examples are reliant on telematics and smartphones to manage use and provide some security.

One company that tried to do it the old-fashioned way was HiGear. Sharing the cost of owning luxury cars is a great idea and proved very popular, but now professional car thieves have effectively forced the owners to close the business. For more details on this story click here.

Telematics is moving from nice-to-have to must-have in many areas, particularly in solving the range anxiety issue for electric vehicles, and it is now the backbone for a new business opportunity that in the long term may help provide an alternative solution for transportation within Smart Cities.

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