Volkswagen considers electric scooter sharing
It looks like Volkswagen is preparing to enter the rental business with electric kick scooters. The automotive group has entrusted a service provider with the task of affixing the logo of its ‘We Share’ platform to electric scooters for a test run.
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The German newspaper, Handelsblatt, wrote about the development with reference to unnamed persons entrusted with the project. Apparently, the service provider from Dortmund, Germany, will also take care of procurement and software for the business. Volkswagen did confirm that concrete micro mobility projects are in the works and that further proceedings are currently being examined with potential partners. At present, however, they are saying that no firm decisions have been made and that they are not able to reveal any details about the electric kick-scooter test operation.
It is clear, however, that it will be more likely to use third-party vehicles than electric scooters produced in-house. According to the report, Segway will supply the models for We Share. Segway has been owned by the Chinese company Ninebot since 2015.
It seems that Volkswagen has ventured into micro mobility on a number of fronts. Only yesterday they presented the serial version of an electric cargo bike. In addition, in March in Geneva, the company presented the Streetmate two-wheeled electric scooter and the ultra-light weight, three-wheeled Cityskater, also known as the “last mile surfer”. While the first one can go up to 45 km/h, the latter one is designed for speeds up to 20 km/h. However, VW emphasized that both models are concepts. Consequently, there are still no indications of production schedules or future prices.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen is not the only carmaker flirting with the electric kick scooter market. BMW and Daimler are also planning to set up a corresponding service called Hive following the merger of their mobility services via Daimler subsidiary MyTaxi. As part of a pilot project, the service was launched on a trial basis in Hamburg and Munich in April.
Officially, electric pedal scooters are still banned on public roads in Germany. On 17 May, the Federal Council is expected to vote on the “Ordinance for Small Electric Vehicles” approved by the Cabinet at the beginning of April. Should the vote be positive, electric pedal scooters would be allowed on German roads.
Update 07.05.2019: The German newspaper Welt has learned that Volkswagen wants to enter a cooperation with the Chinese startup NIU for the construction of the first electric scooter of the VW brand. According to NIU’s own figures, their company now has a market share of around 40 per cent in China. Volkswagen’s Streetmate, which was presented at the Geneva Motor Show, is to be jointly produced by the two companies.