In order to identify female early adopters of carsharing and e-carsharing, a German sample of 492 carsharing subscribers from Berlin is analysed of which 74 are female early adopters. This sample generally confirms socio-demographic findings about early adopters as described before. The presentation of the results is structured according to the identified characteristics in Section 2. Although there is a relatively small share covering 15 % of the sample – as usual for sample of early adopters of carsharing and BEVs, insights about female early adopters of carsharing with and without BEVs can be provided. First, the results of analysing socio-demographic backgrounds are being presented. Second, preferences in mode choice including a section about the use and evaluation of the e-carsharing service are described. Finally, mobility related attitudes and the clusters according to them are analysed.
Socio-demographic characteristics of female early adopters
As a first step to understand female early adopters, their characteristics are compared to those of males and the reference group of the Berlin population and Germany as shown in the following Table 3. In General, besides being male, the majority of the sample is well-educated and full-time employed with a high income. Differentiating between women and men, the socio-demographic backgrounds remain homogenous except for the average age, the employment status and the net household income per month. 50 % of the women are between 27 and 35 and accordingly 3.3 years younger on the aggregated level than men.
Although the sample shows a higher share of full-time employment than found in Berlin, which is nearly equal for men and women if no child lives in the household, the typical gap occurs as soon as a child lives in the household, nearly aligning with the share of the Berlin population. Childrened female early adopters show, therefore, the same effects of parenthood on the employment status as elsewhere in Berlin, Germany or Europe. The levels of education are equal on the aggregated level and are much higher than the German and Berlin average. Interesting is the income gap, which is bigger than usual: a third of the women have a net household income below 2000 Euro a month; whereas, only every fifth men receive less than 2000 Euro a month. This gap is bigger than the regular gap found for the Berlin population. This can be explained with carsharing offering a cheaper access to using a car when needed instead of having to own a car. More than three quarter of the women (77 %) in the sample do not have a car in the household compared to less than a third of the men (64 %).
The number of children is different but not on a significant level: the male share of the sample has 0.68 children on average, while the female share has 0.48. Splitting the data according to two age categories of the children, it shows that the difference lies within the group for children younger than 14 years: more than half of the women stated not having children below 14 compared to a third of the men (Fig. 1). Concluding from the employment status (men with children are usually more often full-time employed than without children and women are usually a lot more often part-time employed with children than without), women reduce their work time in order to take care of their child or children. This effect leads to the assumption that using carsharing with and without BEVs schemes is not as attractive to people taking care of children – and this means usually women.
To sum it up, regarding socio-demographic backgrounds there are significant differences regarding age, employment status and income between female and male early adopters of carsharing with and without BEVs: female early adopters are younger, less often full-time employed when children live in the household and show a lower income than male early adopters, although latter is still higher than the average of female Berliners. Women of this sample are more often full-time employed than on an average, especially when they do not have children in the household. As expected, having a child shows a big effect on the status of employment: female early adopters with children work less often full-time. The number of children is smaller for women than for men, whereas no comparable data for Germany or Berlin is available. This aspect and the effect of having children in the household on the employment status suggest that carsharing is rather attractive to people not being in charge of taking care of their children.
Differences in mode choice and use of carsharing with and without BEVs
This part provides insights about different aspects regarding mode choice and the use and evaluation of e-carsharing services. Female early adopters show different preferences in mode choice compared to men: they are using bikes with 80 % at least once a week compared to men with 62 %. Cars including BEVs and rented cars are not used as often by women as by men. Women do not show a higher usage of public transportation as it has been identified in other international studies before and described in Section 3.2. Regarding the use of free floating carsharing with BEVs, 10 % of the women use this service for professional reasons compared to 24 % of the men. When cleaning according to employment status, the difference remains. This could be explained with different work tasks for women and men, which were not asked for in the survey. Additionally, more than half of the women almost never or less than once a month use a car driving themselves (53 %) compared to a third of the men (37 %).
Comparing the use of different carsharing service operators, differences between women and men occur mostly checking for the average frequency of use per month generated out of the past 12 months. As Table 4 shows, for most of the service operators, men have used carsharing services more often. Only regarding the use of ‘Multicity’ the average number of uses is almost equal for both groups of early adopters. For one of the main service operators ‘Flinkster’, there is a much higher share of men using this service: almost half of the men used ‘Flinkster’ at least once within the past 12 months compared to a quarter of the women. ‘Flinkster’ is a station based carsharing service operator with vehicles with an internal combustion engine. Other operators namely ‘Citeecar’, ‘Greenwheels’, ‘Hertz on demand’, ‘Cambio’, ‘Stadtmobil’ and others do not play a role for the female users of this sample. 14.5 % of the male respondents used others though. On average, respondents had 2.2 memberships. Women show a significantly smaller number of memberships with 1.8 compared to men with 2.4.
Additionally, women show shorter membership periods for all operators than men. Nevertheless, a slightly higher share of the women who used ‘Multicity’ within the past 12 months can be found. ‘Multicity’ offers only one model of BEV (Citroen C-Zero). The higher share of female early adopters using the service of ‘Multicity’ can be explained by the fact that women prefer using one type of car when using carsharing: 73 % of the women agreed, whereas 52 % of the men prefer always using the same type of car. Therefore, it can be argued that female early adopters do not use carsharing services because of trying different models as much as men do, but rather because of having to run errands that are difficult to realize by other modes of transport, especially by bike. Always using the same car model provides a higher potential of routinizing the use of carsharing. After ‘Multicity’, ‘DriveNow’ shows the highest rates of usage although a gap for both the frequency of use and share of users can be identified comparing women and men. At this point, the reader needs to bear in mind that the sample consists of members of ‘Flinkster’ and ‘Multicity’ and, therefore, the order of the operators is not representing early adopters in general. Nevertheless, the ratio of women and men using the services reveals that women show a higher affinity towards BEVs. Since ‘Multicity’ is the only operator using only one model of BEV, it achieves the highest share of female users and frequency of use per month. Women in the sample agreed significantly less with statements like ‘a car in the household is part of their life’ and that ‘their car is needed for staying in contact with friends’ compared to men. This leads to the conclusion that owning a car is even less important to female early adopters than for males. Another difference can be found in the evaluation of handling of charging the battery and handling the charging station: more than half of the women experienced the battery charging as very positive compared to a third of the men. Using the charging station, 40 % of the women stated a very positive handling experience, whereas not even 20 % of the men stated the same.
Splitting the different operators according to their specific characteristics as determined in Table 1, almost 80 % of the females have used BEVs compared to 65 % having used ICEVs within the past 12 month (Fig. 2). For the male respondents the share having used ICEVs is slightly bigger than the one for BEVs. The difference of the use of ICEVs is highly significant. This clearly states that women using carsharing show a higher tendency to use BEVs instead of ICEVs. Comparing free-floating to round-trip (e-) carsharing schemes, latter shows another significant gap between women and men: whereas a bit more than a third of the females used round-trip services, almost 60 % used them.
Since the usage rates are generally smaller for women, the fact that operators with BEVs (free-floating and round-trip services) show a higher share of women using the services than the services with ICEVs, it can be argued that female carsharing subscribers show a higher potential for the use of BEVs instead of ICEVs. Significantly more women than men (76/63 % agreed) reporting that they have found a vehicle whenever they needed one and describing the business area as big enough for their daily trips (64/50 %), supports the argument of women’s traffic patterns being optimal for urban e-carsharing schemes. Men and women report almost equally about the intention of using e-carsharing services in the near future: 88 % of the men intend to use electric vehicles through sharing schemes on a regular basis compared to 85 % of the women.
Having children in the household does not lead to significant differences between women and men regarding the presented variables of usage. This suggests that using these services takes place mainly without children. Therefore, no effect of the variables can be seen.
Differences in mobility related attitudes
At this point attitudinal variables are used to compare men and women in order to get insights about female early adopters. Nine indices were computed using 27 attitudinal variables as described in Section 4. The sample shows a high affinity for new mobility services and bike affinity. Although there is a high car affinity across the sample, male and female early adopters show a very low preference for owning a car.
Comparing the indices regarding attitudinal parameters, three main differences can be identified between women and men: as seen before, female early adopters use bikes more often compared to men. This characteristic is confirmed by a higher affinity towards riding bikes. Additionally, differences regarding affinity towards technologies and the attitude towards innovations can be seen. Table 5 shows the means of the indices comparing women and men.
Grouping the sample according to the clusters used according to Hinkeldein et al. , the overall sample is dominated by ‘innovative technology-loving multioptionals’ and ‘ecological PT-and –bike lovers’ as shown in Fig. 3. The two groups can be characterised with a high mobility related environment awareness, mobility service affinity, PT affinity, long-distance train affinity and innovator scale. Differences can be found regarding the joy of car driving and general car affinity and the affinity towards new technologies. This supports the assumption that female carsharing subscribers use the services not to test different car models, but rather as an additional multimodal part of urban mobility.
Although there is neither an identified significant difference in the attitude regarding affinity towards local public transportation, nor a difference in the usage of it between men and women, the distribution of mobility types across the sample shows a greater share of female ‘ecological PT-and –bike lovers’ compared to male early adopters. More than half of the male sample can be allocated to the group of ‘innovative technology-loving multioptionals’ and a third to ‘ecological PT-and –bike lovers’. The shares of the two groups for women are nearly equal with 44 % each. This allocation is consistent with the findings of Hinkeldein et al. , where two thirds of the cluster ‘innovative technology-loving multioptionals’ and a bit than half of the cluster ‘ecological PT-and –bike lovers’ are male. The cluster of ‘flexible car-lovers’ shows a high affinity towards driving and testing cars. Nevertheless, they do not generally reject other modes of transport. Although for both sexes the share of ‘flexible car-lovers’ is about 9 to 10 %, the previously identified differences have to lie within the two remaining clusters (‘innovative technology-loving multioptionals’ and ‘urban oriented PT-lovers’).
The differences in the attitudes and distribution of the clusters according to mobility related attitudes indicate that early adopters show a high ecological awareness and have a high affinity towards public and individual traffic. Nevertheless, clusters that clearly prefer PT and show a high environmental awareness (‘urban oriented PT-lovers’) as well as clusters that show a higher affinity towards cars (‘traditional car-lovers’) or bikes (‘conventional bike-lovers’) are hardly represented in the sample of early adopter. For the biggest clusters of the sample driving oneself either by car or by bike in combination with public transport is an important criterion. For the women of the sample the individual traffic is mostly by bicycle; for the men it stands for car usage. Clearly, the more sustainable way of transport is by bicycle. Therefore, female early adopters show higher environmental friendly traffic behaviour than male, although the attitude towards ecological issues does not show differences between these two groups. If women used carsharing, they rather used locally environmental friendly battery electric vehicles in carsharing than men. Although the sample does not show great differences in the attitude towards mobility related environmental issues, 60 % of the women agreed completely on the statement of BEVs being environmentally friendly, compared to men with 43 %. This indicates that’s women are not as sceptical about the environmentally effects of BEVs.