Volkswagen to launch electric car sharing initiative in Berlin

Volkswagen has announced that it will launch a car-sharing pool of 2,000 fully electric vehicles in Berlin, in the same week that new research revealed that Europe-wide sales of new electric vehicles (EVs) grew by more than 40% in the first half of 2018.

The automaker will roll out 1,500 e-Golfs in the German capital by March 2019 as part of the scheme, with 500 e-up! EVs to be added to the fleet by the end of next year. After 2020, the fleet will gradually be replaced by Volkswagen I.D. EVs, as they become available.

Volkswagen’s brand board member for sales Jürgen Stackmann said the move would “motivate young, urban users to engage with e-mobility”.

“Because of the size and density of its population, Berlin is the ideal market and has the greatest potential,” Stackmann said. “Many people who have already tested car sharing live there – and the numbers keep on growing.”

The service is the first to be launched under Volkswagen’s new “We Share” ridesharing platform, which the company wants to roll-out to other large cities in Germany before launching the service in other cities across Europe and the US.

The platform operates via a mobile phone app, which collects information such as the length of each trip, with each of the EVs passing data to-and-from a cloud-based operating system.

Volkswagen launched “We Share” after its own research found that the uptake of on-demand vehicles in Europe is set to rise by 15% annually, with young motorists increasingly seeking to take part in the sharing economy.

The move comes ahead of Germany’s 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles and forms part of Volkswagen’s EV expansion, which will see the automaker produce an electric version of each of its vehicles by 2030.

It also comes at a time when more companies are moving to launch or expand car sharing schemes. Zipcar, for example, recently introduced more than 300 Volkswagen e-Golfs to its platform, to create the UK’s largest pool of publicly available shared EVs. Elsewhere, French automaker Renault will launch an entirely electrified ride-hailing and car-sharing scheme in Paris in September, with 2,000 EVs earmarked for the service, following the success of a similar scheme in Madrid.

EV boon

In related news, new research has revealed that there are now more than one million EVs in Europe after sales soared by more than 40% in the first half of the year.

The research, conducted by industry analysts EV-volumes, reveals that 195,000 plug-in cars were sold across the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland between January and June – a 42% increase on the same period a year before.

The analysis predicts that EV sales will continue to rise as the year comes to an end, with the cumulative total set to hit 1.35 million by the end of 2018.

On a global scale, Europe hit the one-million mark around a year after China, with the US set to reach the milestone by the end of 2018.

EV-Volumes market analyst Viktor Irle said that having a stock of one million EVs marks an “important milestone on the road to electrification and meeting emission targets” but would not be sufficient to meet such goals alone.

The research comes after Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bloomberg NEF) predicted that EVs will account for more than half of new car sales by 2040, with its most recent analysis finding that “the EV revolution is going to hit the car market even harder and faster” than anticipated.

The analysis found that a record 1.1 million EVs were sold worldwide in 2017, with this figure set to surge to 30 million by 2030.

Sarah George

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie