Bosch enters the van-share market with hardware store rental programme

24 October 2018

24 October 2018

Bosch is to enter the vehicle sharing sector with a van scheme set to launch in Germany later this year.

The company will team up with toom, a subsidiary of German retailer Rewe to supply delivery vans at the company’s hardware stores, allowing customers to rent a van to transport large and bulky purchases. The service will initially be available in Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Troisdorf, and Freiburg.

′Bosch is growing with digital services for urban mobility. A service for sharing electric vans has huge potential for growth,’ says Rainer Kallenbach, president of the Connected Mobility Solutions division at Bosch

The vans are provided by Deutsche Post start-up StreetScooter, which also has a partnership with Ford for larger vehicles based on the manufacturer’s Transit. Bosch provides the powertrain for the electric vehicles that will be used in the project.

′As a company committed to sustainability, we are always eager to constantly improve our contribution to environmental protection. We’re therefore very pleased that we can now offer our customers an eco-friendly way of taking their purchases home,’ says Wolfgang Vogt, toom’s managing director for finance and personnel.

Bosch is already experienced in the sharing services business, as demonstrated by Coup, its rental service for electric scooters. Since its launch in 2016, Coup has constantly expanded, and now has a fleet of 3,500 scooters in Berlin, Paris, and Madrid. The German company is also collaborating with Daimler to develop self-driving cars.

In Germany, one in every ten shared cars now has an electric motor. In its Coup and van-sharing schemes, Bosch has opted exclusively for electrically powered vehicles. ′Fully electric driving is ideal for urban mobility – whether that means downtown delivery traffic or individual mobility in major cities,’ Kallenbach says.

The company believes that shared electric vans have scope for application outside the hardware-store sector: if the new sharing service proves popular, Bosch plans to expand it to include other partners, whether these be other toom stores, furniture stores, supermarkets, or electronics stores.

Car sharing has long ceased to be a niche market, as indicated by the sector’s rapid growth: by 2025, the market is projected to have as many as 36 million users worldwide. More and more users, especially in big cities, are taking advantage of app-based services to reserve a vehicle at any time, day or night, then climb right in and drive off.

Bosch says that anyone who finds themselves needing a way to transport their hardware-store purchases can use the new service to reserve a roomy electric van, either a few hours in advance or at the last minute when making the purchase. Vans can be returned to the same station that the shopper picked them up from. Users pay a flat hourly rate that includes mileage and battery recharging, an arrangement that is often less expensive than the classic car rental. Also, the entire process from rental to return is completely digital.