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Communauto Increasing Its Offer Despite Uncertainty

Communauto to add nearly 500 vehicles to its fleet in 2021, the cities of Montreal (+260 vehicles) and Toronto (+120 vehicles) will experience the most significant expansion. PHOTO Communauto

With the arrival of spring and despite the uncertainties brought by the pandemic, Communauto is building its momentum by adding nearly 500 vehicles to its fleet in 2021.

This will increase the total number of vehicles operated by Communauto to about 4,000 by summer, across the 16 cities and regions currently served.

New vehicles are already being entered into service. The cities of Montreal (+260 vehicles) and Toronto (+120 vehicles) will experience the most significant expansion. The other vehicles will be added to the fleet in Halifax (+20), Quebec (+20), Ottawa (+10), Kitchener-Waterloo and Hamilton (+5), Edmonton (+5), Calgary (+10) and Paris, France (+20).

Continuation of electrification

Among the additions to be made in Montreal, 50 vehicles will be the 100% electric Kia Niro, with a range of more than 400 kilometres.

“Communauto is making available to its users the largest fleet of shared electric vehicles in Canada. With this addition, more than one hundred 100% electric vehicles will be available to our users. In total, 50% of our fleet is made up of 100% electric or hybrid vehicles. We would have a lot more if it weren’t for the difficulty manufacturers have in providing them to us,” said Benoît Robert, President and CEO of Communauto.

Dealing with uncertainty 

After experiencing an all-time low when the world went on “pause” last April, demand then hit an all-time high during the summer. Since the fall, the continuation of work from home and engagement in nearby activities has allowed a certain return to normal, accompanied by sustained growth. However, it is difficult to predict the impact of the third wave, especially over a few months.

“Last year the new vehicles arrived very late in the season, which harmed our ability to meet demand. This year, three-quarters of the new vehicles will be in service by the end of June. We will therefore be better able to meet the demand of the summer peak,” said Robert.

Expansion of the FLEX Zone

In Montreal, the FLEX Zone will be enlarged to include areas in the LaSalle and Montreal North boroughs. The service area will also be expanded in the Cartierville and Saint-Laurent areas. Coming soon: the opening of a FLEX drop-off point on the south shore.

In Toronto, the FLEX Zone will be expanded north to Eglinton Ave., where residential parking permits exist, and west to Jane St.

Decisions will be made later, depending on the evolution of demand, in the other cities where FLEX service is now available (Edmonton, Calgary and Halifax).

More station-based vehicles, and vehicles offering additional space

The improvement of the offer for station-based vehicles, available by reservation, started in 2018 in all branches with the introduction of vehicles offering more space (first the Prius V, then Corolla sedans following the Prius V’s exit from the Canadian market), continues again this year. The proportion of these models now exceeds 70% of all station-based fleet.

This decision was made to better position Communauto’s reservation-based offer for longer journeys in complement to the FLEX offer, which is more suited for local trips.

After Edmonton last summer, it will be Toronto and Calgary’s turn this year to see the emergence of a network of station-based vehicles.

“The close integration of the offer of vehicles available with and without reservation has, in a way, become the signature of Communauto. We have found, with experience, that this is the best way to meet all the vehicle mobility needs of our users, and studies confirm it is also the most efficient way to optimize the environmental and urban benefits of carsharing. That’s why we are working hard to deploy both services wherever we can,” said Robert.

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