This strategic move marks Volkswagen’s push into transportation as a service.
On Monday, in a strategic move, Volkswagen has unveiled an all-electric minibus which targets urban customers who prefer to pay for transportation rather than own their own vehicles. The move marks VW’s push into online controlled personal transport services.
The move is strategic since Volkswagen disclosed that it plans on deploying a fully electric international ride-pooling service that aims to remove one million cars from the EU and cities in the United States by 2025.
In 2017, VW is set to launch 200 of the 6-seater buses in Hamburg, Germany’s second most-populous city, and will offer passengers USB ports for charging their tablet and computers as well as fast internet connectivity, said Ole Harms, MOIA’s Chief Executive.
Harms stated, that the Berlin-based MOIA plans on expanding its Hamburg-based electric bus fleet to 1,000 units within three years and expand to other cities as well by 2019, said Harms.
“We will return the cities to the people,” said Harms, while adding that the company’s plans revolve around reducing urban congestion at prices which are more cost effective than taxi rides.
While declining to comment on the prices, Harms said the project will initially be running at a loss, however with the expected adoption of driverless vehicles and ride-hailing services, he expects people will be more enthusiastic to pay for their individual rides rather than pay and maintain their own cars.
“The market is unlimited,” said Harms.
Incidentally, Volkswagen created MOIA a year ago with a view to tap the burgeoning self-driving car market as well as the upcoming ride-hailing services market.
Drawing on VW’s modular platform, MOIA will build the new electric bus to run 186 miles (300 kms) on a single charge and will need 30 minutes to recharge to 80% of its full capacity, said Harms.