Volkswagen plans to start offering car-sharing services using full-electric vehicles in German cities next year. The program is designed for customers who want to experience electro-mobility, without becoming the owners of an electric car.
Their program will be competing against DriveNow and Car2Go, the soon-to-be-merged car-sharing services of BMW and Daimler.
On the long run, Volskwagen plans to expand the car-sharing service to major cities in Europe, North America and Asia, as early as 2020 and focus on core VW-brand cars.
“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”, said Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales, at an event held in Berlin.
The vehicle-on-demand services available on the Volkswagen WE platform will be managed by UMI Urban Mobility International GmbH, Berlin, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG led by CEO Philip Reth. UMI began operating this year with a team of approx. 30. As Philip 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.”
Renault and PSA Group are also competing to offer a car-sharing scheme in Paris to replace Autolib, the electric car-sharing service run by French tycoon Vincent Bollore’s group that was recently ditched by local authorities after a dispute.