Wellington crowd-funding sought for public cars

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 05:00 08/04/2014
Shyft co-founders Tom Pettit, Kate Beecroft, and Erik Zydervelt
Fairfax NZ

A SHIFT IN THINKING: Shyft co-founders Tom Pettit, Kate Beecroft, and Erik Zydervelt are raising funds through PledgeMe to make their car-share scheme a reality in Wellington.

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You may soon be able to zoom around the capital's streets for $15 an hour as part of Wellington's newest co-operative car-share system - and the price includes gas and insurance.

But Wellingtonians must front up with cash through PledgeMe before the plan becomes a reality.

Shyft is based on car-share schemes that have revolutionised the way city dwellers get about in parts of North America, the UK, and Australia.

It is one of three projects seeking crowd-funding as part of Wellington City Council's inaugural Smart Energy Challenge.

The challenge seeks to support community-led projects designed to reduce omissions in Wellington.

The other challenge participants are Aro Solar, which wants to install solar panels on the Aro St Community Centre and then other community centres, and the Solar Space Heater, to warm Wellington homes.

Shyft co-founder Tom Pettit said on average New Zealand households spent 10 per cent of their disposable income on private vehicle costs.

"Borrowing the best ideas from car-sharing systems across the world, Shyft will place a variety of shared cars around the city - utes, sedans, hatchbacks, even luxury cars."

It is claimed that one car-share vehicle can replace up to 30 privately owned cars and a member's carbon emissions can be reduced by almost 50 per cent.

Up to $10,000 of funds raised through PledgeMe will be matched by the city council.

The Shyft team - which also includes Kate Beecroft and Erik Zydervelt - would install the first car in the community which pledges the most cash.

Cars would be "skinned" with symbolic artwork representing a specific community.

The early adopters of Shyft are expected to be 22 to 35-year-old central city dwellers with access to no or one vehicle.

The scheme needs 40 members per car to cover costs, and 60 to be profitable.

Crowd-funding for all three projects was officially launched last night. Details can be viewed at pledgeme.co.nz

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