Volkswagen to launch ‘zero-emission’ car-share service in 2019
Vehicle-on-demand fleets for service called WE to consist entirely of electric cars
VW said it plans to launch the WE service in Germany next year, with an international rollout to begin as early as 2020 “in major cities in Europe, North America and Asia”.
Volkswagen said it is launching a “zero-emission” car-sharing service called WE next year, a move that could accelerate its battery-powered car production and take on the likes of Uber and Didi in the mobility space.
The VW brand, which makes up about half of revenue for the Volkswagen Group, said it plans to launch the WE service in Germany next year, with an international rollout to begin as early as 2020 “in major cities in Europe, North America and Asia”.
“Our vehicle-on-demand fleets will consist entirely of electric cars, and will therefore provide zero-emission, sustainable mobility,” said Jürgen Stackmann, VW brand board member overseeing sales. VW’s first long-range electric car, the ID Neo, will be produced in Zwickau and is scheduled for series production late next year.
The car-sharing plan is one of many mobility plays among carmakers, who are concerned of becoming “Foxconns of the car industry” – after the company which assembles Apple’s iPhones – if car-sharing and ride-hailing services replace individual car ownership.
This week, PSA and Renault each said they would soon launch electric car-sharing services in Paris. In March, BMW and Mercedes announced they would team up on all mobility services to ensure they had enough scale to compete.
VW’s WE mobility service may also include on-demand services such as the ID Cityscater and the ID Streetmate, two electric scooters VW had previously shown.
Each of the concepts falls under VW’s emerging mobility brand, MOIA, which will include ride-hailing, parking and pooling services.
The WE platform, VW said, will be managed by UMI Urban Mobility International, a Berlin-based unit owned by VW and run by Philip Reth.
“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,” Mr Reth said. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018