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Volkswagen Gears Up for EV Car-sharing Service in Berlin

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【Summary】Initially, Volkswagen’s EV car-sharing fleet will consist of 1,500 e-Golf cars during the early stages of the launch. According to Volkswagen analysts, on-demand auto offerings in Europe are expected to grow 15 percent per year.

Michael Cheng    Aug 28, 2018 1:45 PM PT
Volkswagen Gears Up for EV Car-sharing Service in Berlin

Volkswagen's plans to incorporate EVs with commercial transportation services just reached a new milestone. Earlier this month, the Germany-based automaker announced it is preparing to launch an all-electric, car-sharing service in Berlin.

If all goes according to schedule, the company's EVs will be available to locals residing in the city by Q2 of 2019. As part of the ‘We Share' platform, the highly anticipated service is considered to be one of the largest EV fleet used for car-sharing.

Read on to learn more about the leading car manufacturer's plans to support sustainable transportation services.

All-electric, Car-sharing Service

Initially, Volkswagen's EV car-sharing fleet will consist of 1,500 e-Golf cars during the early stages of the launch. By 2020, it intends to introduce 500 e-up! units to the city to expand the service. With the EV car-sharing service, the automaker is targeting young adults with busy lifestyles.

In the long term, the automaker will likely replace all e-Golfs and e-up! vehicles, in favor of its upcoming all-electric ID series. Such EVs are still under heavy development and will feature an optimized battery pack, as well as driverless capabilities.  

"Because of the size and density of its population, Berlin is the ideal market and has the greatest potential. Many people who have already tested car sharing live there – and the numbers keep on growing. We are democratizing e-mobility," explained Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales.

Similar with other car-sharing services, the company's platform is accessible using a mobile phone. Customers can summon rides, check availability and view transaction histories through the smartphone app.

Expanding to New Markets

According to Volkswagen analysts, on-demand auto offerings in Europe are expected to grow 15 percent per year. In order to capture a lion's share of the nascent market before its competitors, the company expressed intentions to rapidly expand its car-sharing services outside of Germany.

According to the business, its primary objective is to roll out the EV-based service to locations with population counts over one million. Volkswagen also hinted at plans to launch car-sharing programs in North America, where it is installing a vast network of EV charging stations.

"From 2020, 'We Share' is to support the market introduction of the new generation of our new, all-electric I.D. models and thus make a significant contribution to the Volkswagen brand's e-mobility offensive," said Stackmann.

Unsurprisingly, other third-party companies are using electrified Volkswagen units to power their car-sharing services. For instance, in London, Zipcar unveiled plans to include 300 all-electric e-Golf units to its existing car-sharing fleet. The business currently offers rides to roughly 200,000 customers in the area.

Zipcar will use the new EVs to support its one-way transportation services, called Flex. The ‘drive and drop' option allows customers to make a booking, use the vehicle and drop it off at any approved Zipcar zone in the city. The service is accessible through a mobile app, which is also used to unlock the car. Keys are stored in the glove compartment for seamless access and minimal delays.

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