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商业 - 汽车

汽车分享模式对对碰:P2P与ZipCar孰优孰劣

Rob Go 2011年10月11日

P2P汽车分享模式真的会在ZipCar模式的基础上有所提高吗?我不这么认为。

    现在至少有三家公司宣称从优质投资者手里拿到了投资,用来发展P2P汽车分享模式。它们分别是RelayRides、GetAround和Wheelz。我想有人可能认为,这些公司是ZipCar模式的进一步演化。ZipCar模式已经存在很长时间了。不过它与P2P孰优孰劣,这是一个比较困扰我的问题,因为我认为P2P模式能够提供的只是一个中期的解决方案,而ZipCar提供的才是一个长期解决方案。我的想法如下:

    1.无论是ZipCar也好,还是那三家公司也好,它们要解决的都是同一个问题——汽车是一种昂贵的资产,但是利用率却较低。两者采用的解决方案都是相同的:也就是将资产的成本分摊到多个用户身上,同时提高这项资产的利用率。让我们大胆设想一下,在最理想的情况下,这一理念的未来会是什么情形:人们是否还会买车,自己仍旧很少使用,然后把它租出去?抑或人们不再自行买车,因为大部分时间都用不着,而是转而与很多人共同使用共享的汽车资源?我认为后者更有可能,而这也正是ZipCar努力的方向。

    2.P2P模式会不会被自身的成功所累?(如果它成功了的话)我们再来分析一下:如果这种模式成功了,那么下次消费者在考虑购买新车的时候,由于现在有了别的用车来源,他们就可能选择放弃买车。不过如果很多人都这样想的话,那么社会上共享的车源就会越来越少,而且可使用的车源也大都是年久失修的老爷车。服务的质量必然会下降,除非这些公司开始拥有和投放自己的战略储备车源。那时,这些做P2P的公司就变成ZipCar了。

    3.我认为房屋分享公司AirBnB的成功促成了汽车P2P的兴起。不过我认为两者存在很大区别。原因如下:首先,我认为AirBnB的用户更容易感受到安全感和掌控感(尽管最近媒体也报道了一些诸如租客将房屋洗劫一空的惨剧)。房主可以直接与租客见面,甚至如果租客租用的是闲置的单间,租客入住后,房主还可以继续待在自己的房子里。而汽车就不同了,只要让别人开了你的车,你就会觉得存在一定风险。车主对租客筛选得越严格,潜在的租客就越少,汽车资源的使用率就会降低。

    4.另外,这些P2P的汽车公司还得算一本与AirBnB不同的经济账:如果车主把车分享出去,每年可以赚到多少钱?值不值得费这个事?比方说某人每年把车出租100次,每次出租3小时,每小时租金7美元(假设车主自己可以拿到6美元),那么车主一年可以获得1,800美元的租车。也不算很少了,但值不值得?而且这个利用率已经算很高了。我想,对于资产的所有人来说,按15到20美元的价格把自己的爱车出租一次,和以100多美元的价格把房间出租一晚,感觉是非常不同的。另外,房屋和汽车各有各的租金上限,这是它们的属性决定的。比如对于短租来说,ZipCar的10美元/小时就是最高的了。如果长租的话,就是Hotwire公司等租车机构给出的价格。而如果房主在AirBnb上出租房屋,长租房的最高租金上限可能达到每周5,000美元以上。也就是说房屋的租价上限远远高于汽车。

    5.也许P2P模式在某些小众市场上的确是行得通——比如专用车辆或者豪华车,此外它还可以满足部分地区的需要,它们因为人口密度不足,无法支撑ZipCar等公司的服务。或许这个市场空间已经足以容纳汽车P2P的发展和扩张。此外,我们也得承认,P2P业务的资产成本的确要低得多。因此,在某些ZipCar因成本问题而难以开拓的地区,P2P模式可能的确会有市场。

    总之,我的上述论断也可能全然错了,完全看走了眼。汽车P2P可能会在低端市场形成某种颠覆。但是与传统的买车相比,ZipCar的租车成本已经低到了让人难以置信的地步。我并不确定这种颠覆是否会改变汽车分享业的发展方向,我这里不敢妄下断言,不过我正在试图更深入地理解这个商机。当年Netflix公司刚刚起步时,我觉得他们简直是疯了;此外,我还认为教科书租赁网站Chegg也只是一项中期创新(但是现在看来,他们在数字化转型的道路上走得都很成功)。所以请大家各抒己见,以便我可以深化对这个问题的思考。

    本文作者Rob Go是投资公司NextView Ventures的共同创始人,该公司是一家种子投资公司,主要关注互联网创新。他曾供职于星火投资公司(Spark Capital),博客地址是www.robgo.org。

    译者:朴成奎

    There are now at least three companies that have announced funding from excellent investors pursuing a P2P car sharing model: RelayRides, GetAround and Wheelz. I think there is a sense that these companies are the next evolution of ZipCar (ZIP), which has been around for a long time. But, this is a confusing case for me because I actually think that what P2P models propose to do is much more of an intermediate solution vs. a long term solution. And the long term solution already exists in ZipCar. Couple streams of thought on this:

    1. The problem both companies are solving is that cars are expensive and under-utilized assets. The solutions are the same: Spread the capital expense across multiple users, and increase the utilization of the asset. Let's fast forward to the "ideal" future of this vision. Is it one where people still buy cars that they rarely use and rent it out? Or is it a world where no one really buys a car they don't need, and just utilize shared resources with lots of people? I think it's the latter, and that's what ZipCar is trying to do.

    2. Doesn't the P2P model become a victim of its success (if it is successful)? Again, if it works, then the next time consumers are thinking of buying a new car, they will decide not to because other options are available. But if that's the case for lots of people, then there will be fewer and fewer shared options available, and the ones that are available will be older clunkers. The service will inherently degrade, unless the companies start owning and operating their own strategically placed vehicles. And then, presto! You have ZipCar.

    3. I have to imagine that the rise in these models is brought on by the success of AirBnB. But I think it's very different for a couple reasons. First, I think there is a bit more perceived safety and control with AirBnB (even after some of the disasters that have been reported). You can actually meet the person you are going to be renting to, or you may even still be in your apartment while they are sharing the spare room. It feels like a bit more risk to give someone the ability to just drive off with your car. The more screening that you enable, the smaller the pool of potential drivers, which will reduce utlization.

    4. The economics are pretty different from AirBnB. How much money can you really make sharing your car, and would that be enough to make it worth your while? If someone rents our their car 100x per year, 3 hours per time, $7/hour (assuming the owner keeps $6), that equals: $1800. Not nothing, but is it really worth it? And that is very high utilization. I think it's very different to assume people will rent their cars for what might be $15-$20/session vs. renting out a spare bedroom for $100+/night. There is also a pretty natural price ceiling on these rentals. For short-term rentals, it's ZipCar's $10/hour prices. With long-term rentals, it's what you can Hotwire with the rental agencies. With AirBnB, you have the potential for long term rentals that can be $5000+ per week. The price ceiling is just much higher.

    5. Maybe there are niches where this makes sense – like renting specialty/luxury vehicles, serving geographies that aren't dense enough for services like ZipCar to exist. And maybe that's enough to get scale and expand. Also, it's true that the capital expenditure is much much less in a P2P business, so again, maybe there are areas where this model will work that are cost prohibitive for ZipCar.

    Anyway, I could certainly be wrong here and just missing it. Maybe it is a low-end disruption of some sort. But the total cost of utilizing a ZipCar is already ridiculously low compared to the cost of owning a car. Not sure if this disruption is really going to move the needle. I'm not placing a stake in the ground, but I'm trying to understand this opportunity better. I thought Netflix was crazy when it started, and I also think Chegg is a intermediate innovation as well ( but they seem to be transitioning to digital pretty well). So please discuss so I can further my thinking on this.

    Rob Go is co-founder of NextView Ventures, a seed-stage investment firm focused on Internet-enabled innovation. He previously was with Spark Capital, and blogs over at www.robgo.org

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