Car sharing services are nothing new. These services differ from those offered by Lyft or Uber in that users aren’t passengers in someone’s car, but rather renting one from a third party. It’s akin to of a more affordable, short-term, version of traditional rental services such as Ace or Budget. Automakers themselves have gotten in on the car sharing game and CNET reports that the latest to enter the field is Nissan.
The company plans to introduce its e-Share Mobi car sharing service to Japan on January 15, 2018. The program will not charge a membership fee, nor will users be charged based on the distance they drive. Instead, it seems there will be a flat fee per rental. The cars come equipped with a card that covers the cost of tolls, but those costs will then be passed on to the renter.
One of the first cars to be featured in the system will be the Nissan Leaf. The newest version of the Leaf offers some major improvements over the first model, including the ability to travel 200 miles on a charge. A larger battery is currently in production that will see that number increase to more than 225 miles. Additionally, the Leaf will feature Nissan’s lane-holding system.
The cars will be cleaned once a day when they aren’t in use, so renters won’t have to worry about dealing with someone else’s mess when they get into their car.
The program will be available at about 30 different sharing stations across multiple Japanese prefectures including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. If this program proves successful, Nissan is hoping to expand it across the country, but the company has remained silent regarding any plans to expand into western markets such as the United States or the EU.
This service should provide a way for users to obtain access to a car without dealing with large-scale rental agencies, and serve as some good advertising for the new Leaf. Renters can try out the car’s new features and see how they like them. Nissan is probably hoping that a few will be persuaded to buy a Leaf of their own.