The future of mobility and energy: electric car sharing launches in Melbourne.

EQ Towers trial Australia’s first electric car sharing service.

Last month, Australian start-up company Ohmie launched Australia’s first residential electric car sharing service in Melbourne’s EQ Tower. The ‘Ohmie Go’ initiative is a partnership between Ohmie, car manufacturer Hyundai and Australia’s leading EV charging company, JET Charge.

The model is something JET Charge founder, Tim Washington has been working towards for many years, believing EV vehicles can be 100% utilised as both a vehicle and a mobile battery. It comes at an interesting time as awareness around the use of cars, and the hidden costs of parking, are rising.

Recent studies in both the US and the UK have found that cars spend 95% of their time parked, a shocking statistic for many car owners. Traditional car-share models increase the utilisation of vehicles, reducing the amount of time they spend parked and in turn the strain and cost of ensuring parking is available.

The environmental benefit of both car-sharing and electric vehicles have long since been proven (with 18% of all greenhouse gas pollution in Australia currently created by transport), not to mention the public improvements including trees and improved bike paths, which become possible as the demand for street parking lessens.

While some are concerned about the toll of increased EV adoption on our electricity grids, new technologies are being produced to use renewable energy, smart software and battery energy storage to combat these concerns. Washington sees EV fleets as an opportunity to strengthen our grid, rather than as a burden, his vision being a future where private electric car fleets are supplementing the energy supply for entire buildings.

“Even as EVs become one of the largest loads on the grid, it will also be one of the main reasons our grid stays resilient and flexible.”

“JET Charge firmly believes that the future of mobility and energy are closely linked. Even as EVs become one of the largest loads on the grid, it will also be one of the main reasons our grid stays resilient and flexible” he said in a statement about the launch, “this is a big step in realising that vision.”

Ohmie plans to take the model to other large residential buildings, using data collected from this first deployment to refine the customer experience and validate the business model. Kyle Bolto, Ohmie CEO has said, “The convenience of having a service like this in the car park of the building you live in is the closest thing to owning your own car without all the traditional costs of car ownership.”

The Owners Corporation at EQ Tower have become the first to recognise the potential benefits of the model, providing a key amenity to residents, reducing the number of car spaces required, and increasing convenience. And as consumer demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, we can expect many more to follow suit.

And while this is an exciting first step, Washington has his sights set firmly on the future, “That’s why we are involved. We will help Ohmie go through that journey – both the car rental business and the energy management business. That’s the long-term vision about where we want to be, but first we have got to get the car share right.”