WeShare, Volkswagen and SKODA’s free-floating car sharing service, is to expand into seven further cities in Germany and other European countries in 2020.
Prague and Hamburg in the spring are to be followed by Paris, Madrid, Budapest, Munich and Milan in the course of the year. In all these cities, WeShare will be offering an all-electric fleet with a total of about 8,400 electric vehicles.
In Prague and Budapest, WeShare will cooperate with SKODA. In the other major cities in Germany, France, Spain and Italy, WeShare vehicles on offer will include Volkswagen’s e-Golf and e- up! as well as the ID.3 from the end of the year. WeShare already started operations in Berlin with 1,500 e-Golf cars in 2019 and the company now has 50,000 registered customers in the city.
“For us, 2020 will be a year of dramatic growth,” says Philipp Reth, Chief Executive Officer of WeShare. “We are convinced that all-electric free-floating car sharing will be a significant, scalable transitional element in the field of sustainable, shared mobility for a considerable time on the way to automated transport systems”.
He says the objective must be to make a breakthrough with the wider public together with the cities. “We therefore hope that we will receive support from the cities, for example in the area of parking charges for car sharing vehicles or the designation of new car sharing areas in public spaces with a view to providing incentives for potential users and making car sharing even more interesting and relevant” says Reth.
In Berlin, where WeShare was launched in June 2019, about 50,000 customers are now registered for the service. About three-quarters of these are ‘active’ users who have used the WeShare service at least once.
“In comparison with the sector as a whole, this figure is very high and shows that WeShare is highly relevant for people’s urban mobility,” Reth comments.
Over the past six months, the WeShare fleet in Berlin has completed more than three million kilometres, which corresponds to an average of four to five trips per car per day.
One of the major challenges faced by WeShare in Berlin is battery charging. To compensate for the inadequate availability of public charging infrastructure, Volkswagen AG and WeShare have started cooperating with the Schwarz Group, which is currently installing a total of 140 public charging stations at 60 Lidl and 10 Kaufland locations around the city.
As a cooperation partner, WeShare can use the charging stations for its car sharing fleet on an exclusive basis outside the opening hours of the stores. During opening hours in the daytime, the charging stations are available to all customers of Lidl and Kaufland. WeShare has plans to establish further partnerships with a view to expanding the available infrastructure.
WeShare is 100 per cent electric car sharing and a service of UMI Urban Mobility International GmbH with headquarters in Berlin. It started in Berlin with 1,500 electric vehicles in July 2019. As a ‘vehicle on demand’ service, WeShare aims to ‘meet the needs of people who do not want to dispense with individual mobility’.
It is, they say, intended as ‘an additional offering for all occasions when a car is practical and convenient’.
In future, UMI will develop and provide IT-based and platform-based vehicle on demand (VOD) services. The objective is to pool the VOD offerings of the Volkswagen Group and to make them available in major cities throughout Europe.