Automaker-run EV sharing services are still novelties now, but they could be plentiful before long. Both Volkswagen and Renault have announced plans for electric car sharing services in a bid to promote sustainable mobility. Volvo and Porsche already have subscription services available. BMW and Mercedes also work with outside companies to provide car sharing services in select cities.
VW’s We platform will offer on-demand EVs starting in Germany in 2019, and expanding to North America, Asia and other European cities as early as 2020. Renault, meanwhile, is prepping the gradual roll-out of a similar service in Paris and the Ile-de-France region beginning in September 2018.
A second phase of the Renault plan will see Paris and Renault start an open working group that would talk about integrating new transportation services into cities. It would draw on the C40 network, which includes about 100 cities and counts Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo as its chair, who are working together to combat climate change.
The two services come alongside existing services. VW’s MOIA focuses on ride sharing and carpooling, while Renault offers conventional car sharing across France and an EV option in Madrid. And in Renault’s case, it’s partly a replacement.
Paris recently kicked out an established electric car sharing service, Autolib, and Renault is competing with Peugeot to fill the gap. However, this may well reflect what you can expect for transportation going forward. Instead of buying a car from a given brand, you’d take advantage of a whole host of eco-friendly services to get across town.
While progress is slow, it looks like the auto industry is beginning to seriously consider alternative business models to individual car ownership.