Volkswagen, Renault look to car-sharing future

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European carmakers Renault and Volkswagen look to a future where people share electric cars rather than own them.

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Source: Groupe Renault
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Source: Groupe Renault

European carmakers Renault and Volkswagen are looking to a future where people share electric cars rather than own them.

Renault, whose vision of shared electric mobility is designed to address challenges of public health, climate change, accessibility and ease of travel as well as the affordability of private transport, intends a gradual rollout of commercially available shared cars starting as soon as September this year.

By the end of 2019, it expects to have a fleet of 2,000 vehicles on the roads, made up of Renault’s 100% electric ZOE, Twizy, Kangoo Z.E, and Master Z.E.

Renault’s 100% electric ZOE supermini and Kangoo ZE van would be part of the Paris project. Source: Renault Australia

The French automaker joins with the City of Paris, who they will join with in a second phase to bring together major cities and companies in the region to worksop how shared electric mobility can integrate into urban centres.

Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and President of C40, expressed the positive impact on quality of life such changes could make.

“Cities and car manufacturers have a vocation to join forces for the future of mobility.

“Paris and Groupe Renault are now leading the way by converging their action in the areas of car sharing and electric motors. This will make it possible to offer Parisians and Ile-de-France residents a healthier, less polluted living environment, where everyone can move more easily, “ she said in a statement.

“This constructive agreement is also an opportunity to promote major technological and industrial advances, which contribute to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and create sustainable jobs and activities.”

Volkswagen’s plans – announced on the same day – would see car sharing services begin in Germany next year, rolling out to other major cities across Europe, North America and Asia from 2020.

The German auto giant recently announced their intention to develop a whole range of electric vehicles from the futuristic ID series, to remakes of iconic models like the Beetle and the Kombi, although which models will be used in the program are yet to be seen.

VW’s ID Buzz could be used in a car-sharing program across Europe, North America and Asia. Source: Youtube

While some reports suggest that car-sharing or ‘vehicles-on-demand’ could increase congestion in urban areas, VW’s Board Member for Sales Jürgen Stackmann explains that the move could still improve transport in cities.

“We are convinced that the car sharing market still has potential. 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.

“Our vehicle-on-demand fleets will consist entirely of electric cars, and will therefore provide zero-emission, sustainable mobility. That is an intelligent way to relieve the strain on urban areas”, he elaborated.

There are no indications as yet whether either Renault or Volkswagen will introduce such a program in Australia, James Tilbury from EnergyLab says that ‘transport-as-a-service’ (TaaS) in Australia could have definite benefits over owning electric vehicles privately.

“TaaS has the potential to be significantly cheaper than personal car ownership. TaaS and personal vehicle ownership will each have their own advantages in regards to convenience – you don’t need to find a park or count your drinks with Taas but you also can’t leave your sports equipment in the trunk,” he told RenewEconomy.

In Germany, vehicle-on-demand services would be managed by VW subsidiary UMI Urban Mobility International GmbH, under CEO Philip Reith.

He confirms that what people want is to travel in a way that eco-friendly, affordable and fast.

““Our customers expect an environmentally-friendly fleet that takes them to their destination quickly and at a fair price – and that is exactly the experience we will be delivering,” he says.

Renault did previously report that the ZOE supermini and Kangoo ZE van would be available in Australia by early 2018, however this has still not eventuated. They have been contacted to confirm when we can expect to see either model on Australian shores but as yet have not responded.

VW also intend to introduce what they refer to as micro-mobility solutions – that is, electric scooters like the CitySkater and Streetmate, also part of the ID series.

Source: Volkswagen AG
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7 Comments
  1. Rod 3 months ago

    Going by the photos, they have the ratio correct. Two bicycles (eBikes of course) one eScooter and one EV for those unable to physically use the other two modes.
    And a Kombi for the weekend.

    I live in hope that is the future they envisage.

    • Joe 3 months ago

      Hi Rod, good to see the trusty two wheeler getting a plug, yes. Myself, I don’t own a car but I own 3 bicycles which are, can I label them as.. ‘hBikes’..human powered bicycles. They are my daily transport around my locality, to the beach for my daily swim workout ( Open water or Rockpool ), to the shops, to visit friend, its been this way for me for yonks. I’m getting older, into the 60’s age bracket these days but not too much slower that the changeover to ‘ebiking’ is a serious thought…not just yet. That weekender Kombi, nah, wont be for me.

      • Mike Westerman 2 months ago

        Joe sad u think the Kombi has no place in your life!!??

        • Joe 2 months ago

          Ha, ha…as a passenger one day, perhaps?

      • Rod 2 months ago

        I’m nudging 60 and I’ve still got a couple of “normals” in my stable (and a couple of projects) but I lurv my eBike.
        My main point is that sometimes the best solution is the simplest. The electric assistance enables just about anyone to ride for transport at a good pace and get a bit of exercise to boot.
        Reaching high percentages of commuter cycling and public transport use (similar to some Nordic Countries) would enable Australia to greatly reduce our transport emissions.

  2. Ian 2 months ago

    Car sharing, according to groupe Renault that are trying this in Ile de France is a type of car hire service. The example they give is hiring a van at IKEA to transport furniture purchases home. The other example is of hailing an autonomous vehicle to pick you up and take you somewhere. Ho hum, isn’t that already done? Maybe we should tell the French and Germans that in English we already have names for these services. 1. Car hire 2. Taxi. The only differences are the use of smart phones to stream line the transaction process and maybe some out of work taxi drivers. Shakespeare had a phrase for this : “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

    • MaxG 2 months ago

      Well say it out loud: diesel gate!
      This supports my life-long claim that corporations do neither care about people nor the environment — all that matters is profit. And people cheer them up and support them (and in this case) buy buying their cars.

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