Volkswagen’s all-electric car sharing service, WeShare, has officially launched in Berlin. As its rental vehicles run on entirely green power, the global vehicle conglomerate is both keeping up with rental companies by rival car conglomerates while standing out from the competition.
“With WeShare, we have tailored car sharing to meet the needs of users: easy to use with 100 percent electric operation on green power,” Christian Senger, Volkswagen board member for Digital Car & Services, said in a press release. “With such a consistent, broad offering, we stand out from the competition. We are outstandingly well-positioned to participate in the expanding car sharing market.”
The company initially announced its plans for the car sharing programme in July 2018. A year later, 1,500 Volkswagen e-Golf rental cars are now on the road throughout the German capital.
“Because of the size and density of its population, Berlin is the ideal market and has the greatest potential,” Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen’s board member for sales, said in an article posted by the company. “Many people who have already tested car sharing live there – and the numbers keep on growing.”
Next year, 500 e-up! vehicles and the first units of Volkswagen’s new full-electric ID.3 hatchback cars will be introduced into the WeShare network.
“We are convinced that the car sharing market still has potential,” Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen’s board member for sales, said in a statement in 2018. “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.”
WeShare is a “free-floating” system that is operated through an app and without fixed rental stations. Its service area will initially cover about 150 km2 in the city and beyond the city train ring line in Berlin. Once more vehicles are added to the programme, the service area will be extended accordingly.
The vehicles will be initially collected and charged by WeShare service employees when the battery level is low, but the company plans to introduce incentives for users to recharge the vehicles themselves.
The registration process can be done online. Vanessa Petre Linbenciuc, one of the 2,500 users who tested the fleet prior to launch, said that the entire process took only a few minutes, even with a Romanian driver’s license.
WeShare is planning on expanding through Europe, North America and Asia, with Prague and Hamburg being the next destinations for the rental service in 2020.
Robert Scott Lazar