Car sharing 'big boost to economy'

19:17, Apr 09 2014

A former Motueka High School student is working to revolutionise the way New Zealanders drive.

Erik Zydervelt is a co-founder of Shyft - a car-share scheme that aims to reduce carbon emissions and boost local economies by encouraging drivers to use a sharecar, rather than owning private vehicles.

Shyft is launching in Wellington, but the team of three behind it want to see it in cities all over the country.

Zydervelt, a keen environmentalist, said growing up in the Nelson region was hugely influential in developing this scheme.

"Some of the best benefits of living in a small city, is you have a lot of contact with nature. Both nature and the urban environment are really important to me and this is a great way to make both of these a lot better."

The scheme is starting in Wellington, which is where Zydervelt is now based although once it is established he wants to introduce it to Nelson.


"Nelson is an ideal next step," he said.

Shyft would initially have one car on the road in Wellington - either electric or hybrid, likely a Prius. Members could book the car online and the hourly rate would cover gas and insurance. Once established the team aimed to have a wide range of vehicles.

They were supported by the Wellington City Council which is prepared to donate up to $10,000 to the scheme.

The group had studied other car-share schemes around the world and found one carshare vehicle could replace up to 30 private cars and member's carbon emissions would drop by 50 per cent, while public and active transport would be boosted.

Zydervelt said they had received great feedback on the scheme with 90 per cent of respondents saying they would be interested in using the service.

Studies showed the carshare schemes also boosted local economies - one carshare vehicle could put up to $300,000 back into the local economy.

"Cars are really expensive to run - if you have a lot of people running individual cars the money cars take up often goes straight out of the local economy and onto petrol and parts. Kiwis on average spend 10 per cent of their income on their cars so if you drop that spending down that's a lot of money you can spend on things like coffee or a beer after work."

Zydervelt, an environmental science graduate, said this scheme was "a great way to make positive changes to the environment".

The group is relying on crowd source funding for the project. It launched an account on yesterday. It aimed to raise $15,000 within a month. In the first 24 hours of it they had raised almost $4000.

The Pledgeme campaign was to pay for the lease of the first vehicle as well as the use of the mobile technology users would need to book the car. Details can be viewed at