Electric van sharing free of charge coming to Germany


UZE Mobility is yet another start-up from Aachen, the town that turned into Germany’s unofficial e-mobility capital. Unlike other start-ups though, UZE Mobility want to offer their services free of charge to users as they think they found innovative revenue streams.

The idea is to rent out StreetScooter electric vans – these are also built in Aaachen – for free to customers. Different from other car sharing services, UZE Mobility will not charge a fee from consumers but hopes to sell enough advertising for their “mobile billboards”. Moreover, the van panels will essentially be screens so that the adverts can be adapted to whatever area the electric van is driving through.

An even more interesting location-based concept for making some money back however, is UZE Mobility’s idea to sell data. Again, it is not the personal data of their users but data gathered by the electric vans of their surroundings. The start-up says local authorities have expressed interest in information such as the state of roads, i.e. pot holes or regular traffic jams already.

But there is more to the business model – should it turn out to be sustainable. UZE Mobility founder Alexander Jablovski declares: “Our goal are emission free cities by 2025. In this we will only succeed if we manage to motivate people to switch to electric vehicles.”

And, the plan is concrete. UZE Mobility say they will start their first trial this December in the Rhineland region. Customers will then be able to book one of 50 StreetScooter electric vans via app and free of charge. The technology for the digital key is blockchain-based.

The timing could not be any better. Just days ago, Bosch announced a cooperation with DIY store chain Toom. Together they will launch an electric van sharing also in December. They too will use StreetScooter vehicles but renting those will come at a cost. Users will have to pay a flat hourly rate that includes mileage and battery recharging.

It will be interesting to see which use case for electric van sharing will convince more customers, Goliath or David.

wired.de (in German), uze-mobility.com


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