Volkswagen’s ride-sharing service MOIA has now officially started operations in Hamburg. The service will initially operate with 100 electric minibuses, with expansion to 500 electric vehicles already planned.
The basic idea of the new ride pooling mobility offer is to transport passengers together who have a similar route or destination. The MOIA vehicles are called by an app to virtual stops. There are 10,000 of these in Hamburg. According to the provider, these should never be more than 250 metres away from a passenger’s given location. MOIA has been fine-tuning the details of the offer in its latest tests since January. In terms of price, the service caters to the market between buses and taxis. CEO Ole Harms gave an idea of the targeted price bracket by estimating that, “an average journey will cost between six and seven euros per person.”
The passenger vans being used for the service are 100 units Volkswagen e-Crafter that have been extensively revamped at Volkswagen in the northern German city of Osnabrück. Among other things, the battery capacity of the normal e-Crafter will increase from 36 kWh to 87 kWh for MOIA. The stored energy should last for at least as long as the maximum permitted driving time of five hours. The drivers will then have to take a half-hour break – enough to charge up to 80 per cent.
The City of Hamburg officially approved the operation of MOIA so far, despite some resistance from taxi drivers and a court case pending. Meanwhile, MOIA plans to expand the fleet in Hamburg from 100 to 500 vehicles and the operating area from 200 to 300 square kilometres by the first quarter of 2020. The latter covers most of the districts north of the Elbe river. MOIA’s operating hours are Monday to Wednesday, 6 a.m. to midnight, Thursdays, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 4 a.m. and Sundays, 9 a.m. to midnight.
All in all, the company is taking “a significant three-digit million sum” in hand to establish the service. What begins in Hamburg should continue in other cities throughout Germany and across the globe.