Alphabet has launched a try-before-you-buy company car-sharing trial pack aimed at fleets.

Dubbed the ‘taster pack’ for Alphabet’s Alphacity car-sharing programme, the trial lasts for one month and provides access to five cars, an online booking site and 10 membership cards.

BMW’s 1-series and 3-series as well as the Mini Countryman are available as part of the single taster pack, which is currently booked out with companies until the end of October. Alphabet, which is part of the BMW group, plans to add the German brand’s i3 to the taster pack and to the wider Alphacity scheme by the end of the year.

Alphabet is hoping the trial will help increase corporate car sharing in the public and private sectors. Once customers complete the trial they can sign up to the full Alphacity programme, which includes a choice of 180 vehicles. Based on a 24-month contract, a base package to join Alphacity costs from £280.

Vital Energi, a sustainable energy business, used the taster pack before committing to the full Alphacity car-sharing scheme.

Paul Carberry, Vital Energi’s fleet manager, said: “Our directors were primarily interested in the business case for car sharing, of course, but the opportunity to see Alphacity in action before they made a commitment to it made it easier for them to take the decision.”

Kit Wisdom, head of corporate mobility at Alphabet, told BusinessCar: “We believe that with car sharing you get all the benefits of rental combined with a host of other features.”

He added: “Once customers get in the car, the Alphacity rental system is keyless – you enter a pin on the navigation screen, which enables customers to rate the car and report damage.”

Wisdom, however, could not give any projections for the future in terms of increasing the number of trial packs.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson recently outlined try-before-you-buy car sharing as a potential measure to reduce CO2 emissions in the capital as part of his ‘Transport Emissions Roadmap’ report (see page 5, ‘London mayor proposes workplace parking levy’).

The launch of the Alphacity taster pack coincides with Alphabet’s promotion of a new development manager specifically to increase its business in the car sharing and business mobility sector. Chris Berry will develop Alphabet’s future sales strategy through new products and sales channels, with a particular focus on Alphacity (corporate car sharing) and Alphaelectric (electric mobility).

Richard Schooling, Alphabet CEO, said: “Knowledge of how organisations can optimise business travel and the development of solutions to meet challenges is at the heart of this new role.
“Chris’s new position is imperative to our continued growth in business mobility.”