Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Lauren Cano, Madonna Camel
Date: January 2015
Abstract: By the year 2030, 57 million people will be over the age of 65 in the United States. Baby Boomers drive approximately 17% more than other age groups and are active well past retirement. This paper examines electric vehicle (EV) carsharing (short-term vehicle access) as a future alternative to vehicle ownership for older adults living on fixed incomes in a gated community to provide reduced cost mobility and eliminate vehicle maintenance hassles. The authors conducted a study of the response to the EV carsharing concept in a senior community in Northern California, between Winter 2009 and Spring 2011, to gauge early adoption potential. The study consisted of in-depth interviews (n=7), four focus groups (n=31), and survey data collection (n=443) with residents of the Rossmoor Senior Adult Community in Walnut Creek, California. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents drive short distances often (eight kilometers (km) five times/month); 100% of interview participants plan their trips in advance; and 77% of focus group subjects made changes to their driving behavior due to high fuel prices. These findings are indicators that an EV carsharing program could potentially complement travel patterns and price sensitivity. Finally, the survey results indicate that 30% of all respondents were interested in participating in an EV carsharing program, while 36% were “maybe” interested. If the carsharing fleet also contained non-EVs, 71% of community-wide survey participants were interested or “maybe” interested in participation. Inclusion of EVs and non-EVs in the carsharing fleet would likely increase interest and participation overall.