Volkswagen to offer zero-emission car sharing in 2019

09 July 2018

9 July 2018

Volkswagen (VW) has announced it is to offer zero-emission car-sharing services in the future, expanding its WE customer offering.

The platform is to begin rolling out various vehicle-on-demand services, in particular, car sharing, in Germany in 2019. These services are to be extended to major cities in Europe, North America and Asia as early as 2020. This was announced by the Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales, JÜrgen Stackmann, at an event held in Berlin. 

″We are convinced that the car sharing market still has potential. That is why we are entering this market with a holistic single-source concept covering all mobility needs from the short journey that takes just a few minutes to the long vacation trip. Our vehicle-on-demand fleets will consist entirely of electric cars, and will, therefore, provide zero-emission, sustainable mobility. That is an intelligent way to relieve the strain on urban areas,’ Stackmann explained.

Apart from car sharing, vehicle-on-demand services can also include what is known as micro-mobility solutions, according to a statement from the company. Volkswagen recently presented progressive e-mobile solutions for urban centres with the I.D. Cityskater and the I.D. Streetmate study. Going forward, vehicle-on-demand services from the WE/We customer platform, which could also be used to provide services such as a parking app or location-based vouchering, are also designed to complement the mobility solutions offered by MOIA. MOIA’s products focus above all on ride-hailing and pooling services.

The vehicle-on-demand services available on the Volkswagen WE platform will be managed by UMI Urban Mobility International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG led by CEO Philipp Reth. UMI began operating this year with a team of 30 people and is looking to expand on this number to bring about a seamless transition to the expanded service. Reth commented: ″Our customers expect an environmentally-friendly fleet that takes them to their destination quickly and at a fair price and that is exactly the experience we will be delivering.″

Car-sharing is a growing strategy amongst vehicle manufacturers who are looking to futureproof their businesses against a changing automotive market. No longer is vehicle ownership considered a necessity by the majority of consumers, meaning carmakers need to get involved in new business models or risk losing out to companies such as Uber and Waymo.

This has already seen BMW and Daimler units DriveNow and car2go merge in an attempt to tackle the growing market, while last week both PSA Group and Renault announced the introduction of new schemes in the city of Paris.