WerreStromer: More than a car sharing system in rural areas

In Löhne in the district of Herford, there is something that puts even rural municipalities on the fast track to success in terms of climate protection: car sharing – set up by citizens for citizens. Since 2015, WerreStromer has been closing a gap in the market here, because the business in rural areas is not profitable enough for established car sharing providers – demand is too low. That did not deter e-mobility enthusiasts at the Climate Alliance (Klimabündnis) in Löhne from promoting the implementation of a project of this kind.

WerreStromer aims to make more efficient use of existing vehicles – for the venture only uses cars that are already in use. To this end, those responsible reach out to tradespeople, municipalities and private individuals who are able to make their vehicles available to WerreStromer – and everyone benefits: those providing the cars, those hiring them and WerreStromer. A fleet administrator coordinates the bookings via the venture’s own website and takes care of the invoicing. Users only need a valid driving licence to register and they pay an enrolment charge and a usage fee. As is the case with other car sharing providers, only those timeslots when the vehicles are actually available are displayed in the booking system.

Engine for progress:

  • Car sharing outside of big cities
  • Provides a large number of users with an experience of e-mobility
  • As a citizen’s project it is open to everyone; admission to the scheme is straightforward
  • Can easily be adapted for use in any municipality

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Photo: Ortwin Eversmeier/Blue Werbeagentur

Climate-friendly transport with the E-Kangoo from Löhne’s municipal fleet 

Experiencing e-mobility

An active commitment to climate protection was the driving force behind the initiative. So it is not surprising that electric vehicles are predominantly used. The municipality of Löhne is contributing an E-Kangoo, which is sponsored by local companies. Five electric vehicles are currently available to hire through WerreStromer. As well as providing transport, the project gives people an experience of e-mobility and increases their enthusiasm for sharing.

Sharing contributes to climate protection

In principle, the system is also open to conventionally powered vehicles, so that more efficient use is made of them, and the simpler it is to rent a car, the easier it is to avoid buying a private car, thus saving the resources and energy required to produce a new vehicle. Participation in the car sharing system also makes people consider more carefully whether they need to go by car – for example in the case of short journeys. The system is based on specific locations, meaning that the vehicles are handed over at fixed collection points.

Plans for further growth

A true loan and rental system such as WerreStromer’s becomes more stable and more attractive as it increases in size. The potential for growth exists: the feeling of attachment to one’s own car diminishes, acceptance of sharing schemes increases – even if this is not as marked as in large cities, it also takes place in rural areas. For medium-distance journeys between 20 and 100 kilometres, in particular, the project offers a good alternative. WerreStromer serves as an example of what can also be done in other places: a project set up by citizens for citizens, which does not require a high initial investment, has low running costs and is able to gradually expand. The more vehicles and locations that are available, the greater the benefit offered to the car sharers. WerreStromer has another unusual feature: special purpose vehicles are part of the concept. For example, the project has a small bus which can also transport wheelchairs, as well as electric bikes adapted to the needs of the disabled and electric rickshaws. Large-scale car sharers such as the senior citizens’ centre in Löhne make active use of these vehicles.

Photo: Olaf Funk

"Car sharing and e-mobility are two keywords for an increasing number of projects involved with mobility. However, they only represent the building blocks for transport in the future and should not be seen as the ultimate solution!"
Olaf Funk, Fleet Administrator at WerreStromer

Partners and sponsors

  • Klimabündnis Löhne
  • Stadt Löhne

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