Peer-to-peer carsharing (also known as person-to-person carsharing and peer-to-peer car rental) is the process whereby an existing car owner makes their vehicle available for others to rent for short periods of time.
Peer-to-peer carsharing is a form of person-to-person lending or collaborative consumption, as aspect of the sharing economy. The business model is closely aligned to traditional car clubs such as Streetcar or Zipcar, but replaces a typical fleet with a ‘virtual’ fleet made up of vehicles from participating owners. With peer-to-peer carsharing, participating car owners are able to make money by renting out their vehicle when they are not using it. Participating renters can access nearby and affordable vehicles and pay only for the time they need to use them.
Businesses within this sector typically apply some form of screening of participants (both owners and renters) and a technical solution, usually in the form of a website, that brings these parties together, manages rental bookings and collects payment. Increasingly, an automated form of insurance and breakdown coverage will be applied to rentals that take place through the service in order to protect an owner’s existing insurance coverage.