A recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan estimates the number of vehicles carsharing fleets in the European market currently stands at about 2,000 vehicles, and forecasts that by 2020 there could be between 75,000 and 100,000 of such vehicles in operation, as providers such as OEMs, leasing arms, rental companies, carsharing organizations (CSOs) and technology providers continually enter the market and expand geographically with competing solutions.

With more than half of European automobile sales now accounted for by fleet sales, set against the ever-growing demand for carsharing services, the two business models were always likely to converge, given the benefits of shared mobility in reducing costs and improving efficiency, and the relatively higher business travel requirements in terms of utilization and flexibility, according to the analysis.

A comprehensive corporate mobility solution allows employees the use of several travel modes billed to a dedicated cost center. This will lead to a changing role of the company car in future, and give rise to a growing mobility option on a company wide basis, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Accessing desirable corporate carsharing fleets at reasonable or subsidized prices will enable company fleets to become potential profit generators rather than just cost centers through charging employees for personal vehicle use.

Those employees that may not have previously qualified for their own company car would also be granted access to the corporate carshare vehicles, which are largely brand new high quality vehicles, and will therefore not only boost staff morale and retention for the companies offering the services, but ensure sufficient vehicle volumes to service providers to underpin the business model longer term, as the requirements for vehicles increases.

With providers looking to offer multi-brand options enabled by standardized technology and interfaces, the range of vehicles available through corporate carsharing schemes is set to increase substantially, according to Frost & Sullivan.

While OEMs want to sell their own brands, there is an increasing awareness that corporate mobility requires flexibility and product offerings at all price points, and that customers are used to fleet/leasing/rental providers which offer a range of vehicle brands to their customers. AlphaCity and PSA (Shareyourfleet) have already confirmed they will move to a multi-brand service, with several other OEMs likely to follow suit, whether directly or in partnership with technology or service providers.

Keyless access and centralized end-of-the-month invoicing are some of the elements that will continue to play a pivotal role in making corporate carsharing programs scalable and simple to adopt by corporates.

The operating model will evolve from (RFID) smartcards and fobs to use smartphone-based virtual keys, and, potentially, allow multiple companies to share the same fleet, by downloading a generic corporate carsharing app for example, and in turn lowering costs to employers that are located in close proximity, and increasing efficiency/utilization of the vehicles, according to Frost & Sullivan.

There were 13 providers of corporate carsharing services in 2013, and it is forecast that every major OEM, leasing, and rental firm will have a branded solution or partnership in place to accommodate this market requirement, and as such there could be over 30 corporate carsharing providers in Europe by 2020, with a likely convergence of some schemes and operating models along the way, according to Frost & Sullivan.