VW Expanding European Car-Sharing

While other carmakers back away from car-sharing, there is no sign of cold feet from Volkswagen which has announced expansion plans for its WeShare scheme.

German Rivals BMW and Daimler announced a scaling down of their services at the end of last year retreating from their schemes in the US, Canada and the UK. Yet, VW says its free-floating car-sharing scheme in league with sub-brand Škoda is to be expanded to cover seven further European cities this year.

Prague and Hamburg in the spring are to be followed by Paris, Madrid, Budapest, Munich and Milan in the course of 2020. In all these cities, the service will be offering an all-electric fleet with a total of about 8,400 EVs. In Prague and Budapest, WeShare will cooperate with Škoda using its vehicles. 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.33 from the end of the year. WeShare already operates in Berlin with 1,500 e-Golf cars and the company now has 50,000 registered customers in the city although the automaker admitted one of the major challenges in the city was charging infrastructure. To offset the problem, the company has started cooperation with the Schwarz Group which is currently installing a total of 140 public charging stations at 60 Lidl and 10 Kaufland locations in Berlin.

Philipp Reth, chief executive officer of WeShare, said: “For us, 2020 will be a year of dramatic growth. 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.

“We therefore hope that 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.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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