Volvo creates a car sharing unit

Volvo announced that it’s joining other automakers in creating a business unit devoted to car sharing. The new shared mobility unit will be based on Sunfleet, a car sharing service that Volvo has run since 1998. So after nearly two decades, Volvo should be pretty comfortable with the service.

The new unit will expand Sunfleet globally. Right now, it only operates in 50 cities in Sweden, but those cities have 50,000 subscribers using a fleet of about 1,200 Volvos “rarely more than a year and a half old,” if Google’s translation of the Swedish Sunfleet site is correct.

Sunfleet is a station-based car sharing system akin to ZipCar rather than a free-floating service like car2go. Users register on the website, book a car, unlock it with an app, and find a key in the glove box to start the car. Since the fleet is swapped out pretty frequently, it probably won’t be long before users will be able to unlock the car with the app too.

As it stands now, users can rent a car once, sign up for a monthly subscription, or take a car for the weekend, from Friday at 5 p.m. to Monday at 8 a.m. Because Sunfleet is station-based, you pick up the car where it’s parked and return it there when you’ve finished your short-term rental.

Volvo promises to announce more details of its car sharing and mobility unit’s expansion in the coming months, but if it’s stuck with Sunfleet this long, expect to see a similar (though maybe autonomous?) system as part of the global expansion.