Volkswagen (VW) is entering the global car sharing segment, with the launch of its WeShare full-electric service in Berlin. The company launched this car sharing service with 1,500 e-Golf vehicles at present, and expects to add 500 e-up! vehicles at the beginning of next year. VW will also be introducing the first units of its new full-electric ID.3 when it is introduced in mid-2020 to the WeShare fleet. WeShare is a ‘free-floating’ system without rental stations and is operated digitally via an app, which is expected to be expanded initially to Prague, together with ŠKODA, and then to Hamburg, in 2020.
Initially, the service area of WeShare will cover about 150-square km, in the city centre and beyond the city train ring line, noted VW. It said that the area will later be extended in line with the expansion of the fleet. At launch, customers can benefit from a tariff of 19 cents per minute, with registration and airport fees also being waived. From September onwards, tariffs in three categories are to be offered at an average price per minute of 29 cents. Customer requirements include a smart phone, credit card, 21-years of age, driving license for at least one year and registered address in Germany.
WeShare will recharge its fleet on the public charging network in Berlin, including newly created charging points at 70 branches of food retailers Lidl and Kaufland. Volkswagen recently concluded a partnership agreement with these Schwarz Group companies to safeguard the operation of its electric fleet and to forge ahead with the expansion of charging infrastructure in public spaces within the framework of its e-mobility offensive.
Initially, WeShare vehicles will be collected and charged by the company’s service employees when the battery level is low. In later operation, users will receive incentives for recharging vehicles themselves. With WeShare, VW is adding another mobility service to its ‘Volkswagen We’ ecosystem.
Christian Senger, Board Member for Digital Car and Services, Volkswagen, said with WeShare, the company has tailored car sharing to meet the needs of users. With such a consistent, broad offering, VW stands out from the competition and is well-positioned to participate in the expanding car sharing market, he added.
‘Volkswagen We’ pools all the digital services available for people’s own cars and beyond, the company explained. Services that have already been successfully launched include the Apps We Park, which makes parking even simpler and more convenient. We Experience is for personalised recommendations concerning goods or services near to the vehicle or We Deliver, which makes the user’s boot a delivery point for parcel services. Other services which will be available via ‘Volkswagen We’ will include over-the-air software updates and functions on demand for vehicles.