Case Study

Co-wheels Car Club

Co-wheels has grown to be a leading national car club operator that provides a network of community car clubs across the UK enabling members to access cars on a ‘pay by the hour’ basis without any of the cost and hassle of car ownership. The Co-wheels approach to car club development helps re-connect individuals with communities, isolated communities with the bigger society, and society with a greener environment. Co-wheels strength is on proving the viability of running car-clubs in areas where commercial operators are unable to do so with the majority of them failing to develop a presence outside major cities (such as in more rural communities). It also aims to reduce car use and its associated congestion and pollution, and decreasing carbon emissions by promoting the use of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles.

As a social enterprise, Co-wheels’ primary focus is to help their members and partners to save money, reduce car ownership and create environmental benefit. As a Community Interest Company, they reinvest profit into their operations to expand the service.

With £450,000 funding over five years from Ignite, Co-wheels will be growing its business and social impact by hiring new key operational staff, increasing marketing spend and expanding into new locations with development of more ultra-low emission vehicles and electric bike schemes. Twelve new electric bikes are currently being piloted in Inverness in two locations.

Co-wheels, which started trading in 2008, now has car clubs in over 50 locations across the UK and for every one car it puts on the road takes approximately four cars off the road. It has so far removed reduced miles driven by 500,000 and continues to strive for greater results.

“We were very impressed by the team at Co-wheels’ passion for providing affordable transport to underserved groups.” Ignite Social Enterprise LP, backed by Centrica Plc