Volkswagen Group is launching a car-sharing service called WE that only uses electric vehicles, following the lead of rivals such as Daimler and BMW that have operated their own on-demand car rental services for years.
VW’s car-sharing service will launch in Germany next year and then expand to major cities in Europe, North America and Asia beginning in 2020. The entire fleet will be electric vehicles, VW Group said Wednesday.
“We are convinced that the car sharing market still has potential,” Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen’s board member for sales said in a statement. “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.”
The German automaker’s WE business is designed to do more than car sharing. The WE vehicle-on-demand platform will initially focus on car sharing, but eventually will include other modes of transportation, such as scooters.
Volkswagen showed off two electric concepts in March, an e-scooter it calls the Streetmate and Cityskater, which the company describes as a “last-mile electric street surfer.” Volkswagen sees the WE platform helping connect customers to its car-sharing service, rent one of these micro-mobility vehicles or even pay for parking.
The automaker also sees the WE platform connecting to MOIA, the automaker’s mobility company that has launched a ridesharing service with an all-electric shuttle vehicle. The all-electric car, which made its debut at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin in December, is designed to provide space for up to six passengers.
The vehicle-on-demand services available on the Volkswagen WE platform will be managed by UMI Urban Mobility International, a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG that began operating in 2018.